I was lucky to come across the Cat Royal Series when all the five books were already out, thus I was able to read them all in quick succession. The Black Heart of Jamaica did not disappoint and indeed exceeded expectations which were quite high by the fifth book. Julia Golding's prose is a delight - you can immediately tell an English graduate and, with relief, a writer who can actually write. Every reader is familiar with those toe-curling moments when we come across a passage or a phrase so awkwardly formed that we groan inwardly, "Someone edit this, please!", but Golding does not put a foot wrong.
The plot does not let up for a nanosecond and yet manages to maintain the historic novel's character and to stay within bounds of believability. The historic facts are so cleverly interwoven into the plot and characters that even the most history-hating boy readers will remain unaware of being taught a history lesson. The character development continues with unexpected turns and added depth, especially that of Cat's arch-enemy Billy Shepherd who is by no means as one-dimensional uber-villain as could have been expected...And Cat herself is as delightful as ever. Again we are able to trust the writer to stay true to the earlier laid foundations of this character and yet Cat is growing up and maturing whilst still managing to surprise us with her fiery, selfless and self-deprecating nature. In this adventure she finally finds her talent as an actress, unfortunately not for long as trouble finds her yet again and Cat is abducted, imprisoned, taken gravely ill, close to death... But it's Cat Royal we are talking about - she is not going to be defeated! This is a fabulous book worthy of best-loved children's classics - enjoy!