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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally acclaimed best-selling author of Code Name Verity comes a stunning new story of pearls, love and murder.

Sixteen-year-old Julie Beaufort-Stuart is returning to her family's ancestral home in Perthshire for one last summer. It is not an idyllic return to childhood. Her grandfather's death has forced the sale of the house and estate, and this will be a summer of good-byes. Not least to the McEwen family - Highland travellers who have been part of the landscape for as long as anyone can remember, loved by the family, loathed by the authorities. Tensions are already high when a respected London archivist goes missing, presumed murdered. Suspicion quickly falls on the McEwens, but Julie knows not one of them would do such a thing and is determined to prove everyone wrong. And then she notices the family's treasure trove of pearls is missing.

This beautiful and evocative novel is the story of the irrepressible and unforgettable Julie, set in the year before the Second World War and the events of Code Name Verity. It is also a powerful portrayal of a community under pressure and one girl's determination for justice.

©2017 Elizabeth Gatland (P)2017 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"...for all the story's mystery and history - some of it quite ancient - two other elements take hold: the intriguing characters, brimming with life and the evocative language seeded with Scottish words and phrasings...." ( Booklist)
"Narrator Maggie Service's Scottish accents reflect this novel's strong sense of place.... Nearing the audiobook's end, Service heightens the tension as the twists and turns multiply, never losing the story's emotions and elegant language." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Freshwater Pearls and Scottish Plaid

I steeled myself to listen to Elizabeth Wein’s “The Pearl Thief” (2017), a prequel to “Code Name Verity” (2012) and “Rose Under Fire” (2013). Verity was a stunning book and a chilling listen, five stars all around. Rose wasn’t quite the book that Verity was and I really did not care for the narration. “The Pearl Thief” is a redemptive Audible performance, and a satisfying back story.

Lady Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stewart is Julie in “The Pearl Thief” and Verity in “Code Name Verity.” “The Pearl Thief” is set in Scotland, after cars and cigarettes, but before World War II tore the world apart, taking Verity, Maddie, and Rose into the dark heart of Europe. Julie at 15 is daring and worldly, the beloved granddaughter of an Earl, and a descendent of Mary Stewart. The descriptions of the castle keep and the rivers are detailed. I could see the estate’s library in my mind.

There’s a lively, old fashioned mystery that starts almost immediately. Some of Wein’s books take a while to get going, but “The Pearl Thief” doesn’t make that mistake. There are wrong assumptions, romances, arrests and red herrings. It makes for a satisfying listen and an intriguing ‘who done it’.

The listen reminds me of the summer I was 14, when I devoured as much as I could of Eleanor Alice Buford Hibbert’s historical fiction. Hibbert? Well, her pen names included Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr, and my personal favorite, Jean Plaidy. Hibbert used Plaidy as a nom de plume for fictionalized novels of royalty, castles, intrigue and mystery. Wein’s books are more finally crafted.

Wein’s writing for young adults, a genre that Judy Blume seems to have started with “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?” (1970). I’m old enough to remember that some of my friend’s mothers confiscated the paperback copies. The story and the ending of “The Pearl Thief” are not as intense and shocking as Verity and Rose – and, quite frankly, I was relieved. I’ve never quite gotten over Verity’s finale. This is for older folks like me wondering about age appropriateness: “The Pearl Thief” is going to be an acceptable read/listen for younger readers in a way that Blume’s Margaret was not for more naive ears 40 years ago.

I liked Maggie Service as a narrator – and as always with Wein’s books, I enjoyed learning some UK English.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

251 of 261 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, easy listen.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Pearl Thief to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the characters! They were well-defined. I could picture them vividly.

Have you listened to any of Maggie Service’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. They have all been very good.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't think I have ever listened to a book in ONE sitting. I did finish it quickly enough. It held my interest.

Any additional comments?

I listened because it was supposed to be a prequel for Code Name Verity -- a great book. This book was supposed to be the protagonist of the latter book as a younger girl. I quickly forgot of any connection to Verity because the book stood on its own. While a "young adult" book, I, an old adult, enjoyed it. It was a welcome break from violence and crude language. A lovely period piece.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

Julie is a wonderful character. I read this after Code Name Verity and both books are engaging stories filled with strong female characters and vivid locations. The Pearl Thief is a bit of coming of age and a bit of mystery. The narration is incredibly well done and brings the listener right into the plot.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Shallow, smug main character ruins it

Perhaps the author wanted to highlight the horrific treatment of the Scottish Tinkers at the hands of the general Scottish population by contrasting the dignity of the Tinkers in the face of overwhelming oppression and physical violence to the smug, self-absorbed and shallow 16 year old main character, Julie aka Lady Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stewart. If so, she has succeeded. The story line is pretty much a standard mystery with a few embellishments related to the locale and the secondary story line about Scottish archaeology. But in the final major scene Julie throws a tantrum, needlessly destroying something precious and rare which is not hers to destroy. Yet there is no further mention of this by any other character in the story. So this review is my attempt to wake up the author and also to give Wee Queen Julie a bit of a comeuppance!!!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

BORING

I found this book boring. I did not like the part where the two main women kept kissing each other. The story line was good I guess. I could not keep up with it, maybe it was me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Silly Book

The characters are just too immature and shallow in this book to bother with the plot. Any book is. Better choice!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This is no Verity. Alas.

Even though "Code Name Verity" was listed as a YA book, I read it and fell in love with it. On the basis of that, I purchased this book. Same author, same character ; but a few years before. Had it not been for the excellent narration ; the descriptions of the pearls and pearl collecting; and the background regarding the travellers, I'd have given up long before the end. As it was, I hung on, hoping against hope to find any excitement in the story. This really is a coming of age story ...all tease and no action (and I am referring to the story here!)
A day after wading through the entire thing, I'd forgotten almost the entire plot. It did nothing for me (except pique my curiosity about travellers in Scotland, and freshwater pearls.)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not nearly "Code name Verity".

A bit disappointed. The characters were less than 3D. Still the story kept my interest. Audible 20 review sweepstakes entry

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Oh Julie, gotta love you!

Absolutely adored this book! Lovers of Code Name Verity should pick this up, you'll grin with giddiness with Julie on her adventure, and fall in love all over again.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I could not get through this book

I love the author’s other books so was very disappointed with this. I kept hoping it would pick up #yawn #pickup the story #great author #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful