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Girls with no names and no homes usually aren’t expected to amount to much, but this one defies all expectations of who she is meant to be. No one knows her name, her parents, or how old she is. Even herself. This girl eventually named herself Beetle. She struggles to find food daily and is constantly bullied by the boys in the village. One day a woman awakes her, and suddenly Beetle was working for the woman named Jane, whom she learns is a midwife. In this engaging story, Beetle eventually gains confidence, a cat, a purpose, and people who love her.
I enjoyed this book because it was an interesting view at a period in time where people were a lot crueler than they are today. A lot of characters scream and yell at Beetle just because she “isn’t like the rest.” But the real reason I love this book is the characters. All of them are just brimming with personality! You could never fit any of them into a stereotype because they are so unique!
An example would be Jane, the midwife. She is very strict and sharp, while also being clever and eccentric. I left this book feeling joyful. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
The moment I remember most vividly was probably when Beetle slept in the dung heap at the beginning of the book. I remember her describing it as warm and soft as if it were luxury to her. I felt sad because this was the best bed she had had in a while.
Reviewed by Evie, Glen Allen Library