10th January '18
This book was reviewed by Eden, aged 17.
‘Hetty Feather’s Christmas’ by Jacqueline Wilson tells the tale of one of her most famous characters, a young foundling girl from the Victorian period, and a special Christmas they had when they were still in the care of the Foundling Hospital.
As with all novels concerning the character of Hetty Feather, the story was lively and fun, whilst subtly making the reader aware of the all-to-real problems that girls faced back in the aforementioned time period. Wilson, once again, brings Hetty to life; creating such a solidarity between both reader and character, that her actions spark an almost genuine reaction from yourself, as if she were a real person. The plot is mainly a singular tale, that doesn’t make references to other books in the series quite as those books themselves do. Other than the meeting with an old passing acquaintance, this book could almost be a stand-alone tale, that doesn’t require reading the series.
Personally, my favourite part of the book was how Wilson so vividly described Miss Feather’s surroundings. One of the main elements of any of Jacqueline Wilson’s books is how she manages to help even the most unimaginative person picture the scene that she is describing- and she doesn’t fail to deliver in this quaint tale. Whether it be explaining the harsh conditions of the Foundling Hospital (which, to extent, makes you wince and long for the children held there), or the wondrous backdrop of the outside world, Wilson uses many literary devices to intricately weave together every last detail to complete the scenery. Overall, the book is written in classic Wilson style- mature but still catering to children and their vivid imaginations.
Though not necessarily ‘gripping’ as such in terms of drama, the book does seem to draw you in and the reader finds themselves wanting to read on to learn not only the resolve, but perhaps even more of the historical background that is incorporated throughout. Of course, this is to be expected, as the book is set within the Victorian time period, but Wilson doesn’t really embellish the factual aspects of the time, and tells it how it is- whether it be beautiful, or dark. This is something I admire about Wilson, as those who read her novels are unconsciously learning something whilst absorbing the story- making not only this book, but all of her historical stories, a good fit for those who enjoy history, or those who are trying to encourage others to take an interest.
There aren’t many downsides to this story. If I were to nit-pick anything about the story, I would say that I wish the ending wasn’t so rushed. It seems that once the main focus of the story is over, Wilson is trying to rapidly end the book, noticeably speeding up the pace. She could perhaps have taken it slightly slower here- but that truly is my only complaint, the rest of the story is classic Jacqueline Wilson.
Overall, ‘Hetty Feather’s Christmas’ is a good read- perfect for younger readers as it isn’t necessarily as heart-breaking as Wilson’s other novels, but is still intriguing; and suitable for older readers who grew up reading these books. I would highly recommend this book.