I was amazed top see that someone had posted a review claiming this book wasn't suitable for children. I am 12, I loved this book, and I have a nine year old sister who, although some of it went over her head, also thought it was brilliant! The parts that included dying babies were dealt with with sympathy, compassion and great care, although, yes, they were moving. The first half is about Meshak Gardiner, a 'simpleton' and son of a baby trader and peddlar; Alexander Ashbrook, a musical genius who leaves home because his father won't comtinue to allow him to train as a musician; Thomas Ledbury, Alexander's companion at Gloucester cathedral; and Melissa Milcote, who Alexander falls in love with.
The second part is about Meshak, now a man known as Mish, Alexander's son Aaron, and Toby, Aaron's friend at the Coram hospital. When Mr Gaddarn (who has another name- that person presumed dead) puts Toby to work in his house as 'a little black puppy' for the nobles to play with, Toby finds out he is shipping Coram children away as slaves and hareem girls. Aaron was apprenticed out to Mr Burney, a musician, because he shares his father's amazing musical talent, and he and Toby try to stop this. I was choked at the end... The only thing about this book I wasn't sure of was the coincidences, and the way everyone connected up. It was a very small world indeed! But Jamila Gavin made them make sense, at least. Read it, whatever your other tastes are- and if you are a parent, don't worry because any sensible, intelligent child of nine or above, or even eight, will be moved but certainly not disturbed.