Before Verity, there was Julie. (The Pearl Thief is the prequel to Code Name Verity, a best-selling book by Elizabeth Wein which you should totally read right now if you haven’t 0_0 i’m serious) Julia Beaufort-Stuart comes home to her grandfather’s estate from boarding school, expecting one last summer of relaxation, of appreciating grandfather’s large estate grounds before it, and all of her grandfather’s possessions are sold off.
What she didn’t expect is waking up in the hospital her beautiful hair cut off because of an injury on her head that made her unconscious for almost three days. Julie is unsettled, especially when she starts to realize that her having hit her head might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees has disappeared, and the last day he was seen was the same day she was injured.
Desperate for answers, and bored out of her mind confined to the estate, Julie decides to get to the bottom of things, and befriends the tinker family living on the estate grounds in doing so. When a body turns up, things get serious, and Julie has to find out who’s behind all of this, or her new friends might be the victims of long-held stereotypes and get blamed.
The Pearl Thief gets a 8.5/10. If you compare it to Code Name Verity, it gets an even lower rating. The Pearl Thief was a compelling read, and the mystery plot was well-written. There were few action scenes, though, and in an effort to accurately portray life in that era, Elizabeth Wein often used confusing language and vocabulary that I had to search up. The characters are complex and evolving, and I loved Julie’s unique relationships with each of the other characters. I also enjoyed how Julie’s vanity and arrogance diminishes throughout the story, but not completely, because that would be unrealistic. The ending of the mystery was a bit underwhelming, but I enjoyed the story overall.