Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster

Publisher: Amulet Books

Review

This compelling novel is set in Victorian London, where young orphans are owned by chimney sweeps and forced to clean flues. Their life is a hard and dangerous one, as they are malnourished, poorly treated and work in hazardous conditions.

Nan Sparrow, who has been a chimney sweep for as long as she can remember, loved working alongside the Sweep, a kind and gentle man who appointed himself her guardian and told her the most wonderful stories. She is devastated when she wakes one morning to find him gone and, left to fend for herself, she soon falls into the clutches of Crudd, a ruthless master sweep.

When she miraculously survives a chimney fire, Nan realises that the small piece of coal she keeps in her pocket is alive and has saved her life. As the coal begins to grow and take on its own personality, Nan names him Charlie, but she worries what will happen to him if he is discovered.

Providing a fascinating insight into the harsh realities faced by many homeless children in 19th-century Britain, this moving page-turner is also an uplifting tale of friendship, love and kindness, enhanced with a touch of magic.

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