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I, Coriander [Hardcover]

Sally Gardner
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Aug 2005

The story is told by Coriander, daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came, and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen.

This is a book filled with enchantments -- a pair of silver shoes, a fairy shadow, a prince transformed into a fox - that contrast with the heartbreaking loss and cruelty of Coriander's life in the real world. With its brilliantly realized setting of old London Bridge, and underpinned by the conflict between Royalists and Puritans, it is a terrific page turner, involving kidnapping, murder and romance, and an abundance of vivid characters.

Coriander is a heroine to love. Her story will establish Sally Gardner as a children's writer of boundless imagination and originality.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; 1st edition (4 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842552902
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842552902
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 14 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 792,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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'...I absolutely loved it. Sally has a fresh and very individual voice and a great story to tell. Coriander will remain in my head for ever; she's very real and her strength to go on whatever life throws at her makes her a classic heroine. There's a strong sense of time too - and a piece of our history that is not too often written about' (Wendy Cooling)

'Part fairy tale, part historical novel, I, Coriander is a spellbinding novel with an enchanting heroine - I loved it' (George Hanratty PUBLISHING NEWS)

'...stunning tale. ...The author evokes an aura of mystery and enchantment from the very first chapter. ...Seamlessly meshing fact and fantasy, the author composes a suspenseful masterpiece that will have audience members gladly suspending their disbelief' (Sharyn November PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (US))

'...combines fairy-tale elements with reality. ...Coriander is given an ending to please the most romantically-inclined reader. This is a beautifully produced book, with a traditional charm' (Linda Newbery TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT)

'..Sally Gardner is one of our most successful authors ... an extraordinarily beautiful and gripping tale, but what astonishes is Gardner's prose ....This is a classic new novel by an author who has written a rich fairytale for our times' (Amanda Craig TIMES)

'..Recommended reading' (FUNDAY TIMES)

'...a tale of accelerated growing up, a drama of suffering and fear, loyalty and first love, all played out against a background of rich period detail. It is also the story of the growing pains of a nation - Britain - that went through its own fundamentalist phase' (Nicolette Jones SUNDAY TIMES)

'...spellbinding story... The author weaves an enchanted path between a magical, dangerous fairyland and the even more sinister real world... Readers will find themselves desparately caring about Coriander's fate' (Philip Daws & Margaret Niewiadomska HAVERHILL ECHO)

'...blends accurate historical detail with magic. ...a narrative with a really fresh voice... this novel can be said to be enchanting' (Jennifer Taylor CHILDREN'S BOOKSELLER (AUG 05))

'A glorious, beautifully written novel... This story entranced me from page one and didn't let me go until the last sentence' (Julian Exposito BOOKSELLER CHILDREN'S BUYER'S GUIDE: HIGHLIGHTS)

'...richly written, highly visual and full of accurate historical detail, but most importantly it tells the story of a strong young woman who will overcome whatever life throws at her.' (Wendy Cooling CHILD EDUCATION MAGAZINE)

'From the first the story is gripping and the evocation of the times as vivid as Pepys' diary... it is with a real sense of loss that the reader reaches the end of the tale... Strikingly original and richly textured... a very special book indeed.' (Barbara Sherrard-Smith SCHOOL LIBRARIAN)

'heartrending' (Julia Eccleshare LOOK AT A BOOK (The Guardian))

'Deft and dulcet language, a cast of supporters... and the tie to a grim historical season will hold readers fast.' (KIRKUS REVIEWS)

'[readers] will reap rewards from Gardner's conjuring of both turbulent 17th Century London and the shimmering mysteries of fairyland' (Jennifer Mattson BOOKLIST)

'captivating... you fall in love with her sensitive yet resolute character within five minutes of the start.' (THE INDEPENDENT)

'a winner... a wonderful mixture of history, adventure, romance and magic.' (BOOKS FOR KEEPS)

'one of the most original and unforgettable stories of 2005'` (CAROUSEL)

'A very unusual, poetic tale' (Rosalind Kerven THE NORTHERN ECHO)

'original and enigmatic' (Juliet Towsend THE SPECTATOR)

'I, Coriander tells the troubled, half-magical stroy of a girl living at the time of Cromwell. Flitting between two worlds, this is a truly original work, richly detailing and emotionally compelling.' (Nick Tucker THE INDEPENDENT 9.12.06)

'This hybrid of historical fiction and fairytale is sure to be a hit with a wide audience. The rich descriptions and adventurous plot, as well as hints of romance and danger, will appeal to enthusiasts of a variety of genres.' (Beth Morrissey INIS (CHILDREN'S BOOKS IRELAND) Winter 05)

'Sally Gardner convincingly turned herself from an illustrator who wrote into a novelist with her magical debut I, Coriander. Combining a classic fairy tale storyline with a beautifully described historical backdrop, she produced a wonderful book.' (Graham Marks PUBLISHING NEWS 16.12.05)

'a beautifully written tale of suspense and intrigue.' (Nancy Castaldo HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW)

'The characters were really believable... Anyone who likes history or is interested in this period would enjoy this story.' (Carriona Paterson (Portobello High) TEEN TITLES)

'Brilliant descriptions, powerfully evoking the sounds and smells of London in the period and superbly drawn characters combine with a delicately constructed plot to make this book a real pleasure.' (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

A glorious novel set in seventeenth-century London, and in the fairy world.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Story 25 Mar 2006
By Livvy H
I, Coriander is about a girl living in the time of Oliver Cromwell and Charles II. It ties together fantasy- a magical fairy world ruled by an evil queen, and the reality. It shows great sadness from two aspects- one in the real world with the Puritans and problems Coriander faces (tugged at my heartstrings- excellently written) and one in the fantasy fairy land.
Personally, I am not a fan of fantasy writing. I find them cliched, which this proved to be by having the "evil queen." and, 'good vs. evil.' Despite this, I feel the author has brilliantly described the struggles in the real world- it is an excellent read and shows great effort and historical knowledge.
I recommend it for ages 11 +
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding novel!!!! 15 Aug 2005
This book is absolutely brilliant. When i Started reading it i could not put it down! Coriander, the hero of the story, lives a perfect life with her mother and father in London.Until a pair of silver shoes arrive on their doorstep for Coriander. After this her life is turned upside down, as she strays between our world and the world her mother came from, the land of Fairies. On the way she makes friends and enemies. The ending, however, is perfect. This is a must read for everyone, from history lovers to fairy lovers!!!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding historical fantasy 13 Oct 2005
'I,Coriander' is a fascinating fairy tale giving a sharp historical perspective on the Commonwealth, the period following the English civil war.It is a substantial fairytale told with total conviction by Sally Gardner who marries the fantastical fairies with solid historical facts presented elegantly in a totally credible fashion. She is adept at conjuring up the sights, sounds and smells of 17th century England. She is particularly good at smells; the stench of the middens running along the street, the smell of unwashed bodies, the upturned chamberpots, the filthy Thames. She writes of a period made famous by Samuel Pepys in his diaries. It is a period of violent, political turmoil with suspected royalists being denounced, and Puritans with their killjoy approach to life, holding sway over everything.
The heroine Coriander, only child of a wealthy silk merchant and his fairy wife Eleanor, inherits from her dead mother her 'cunning' skills. She can diagnose and heal sickness using her mother's simples and herbs.
It is a delightful, beautifully constructed novel. It reads easily as it tells of the travails of the child Coriander stepping between life as the stepchild of a violent ranting Puritan Maud with her drunken preacher associate Arise Fell and her spells with the fairies as she struggles with the Fairy Queen Rosmore and her powerful raven for the soul of her mother and the life of the handsome Prince Tycho.
Sally Gardner is totally steeped in the period and brings it vividly to life. All her characters seem to have a life of their own and continued living for me long after I finished the book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book 30 Sep 2005
I, Coriander is a book about two different worlds, the world of fairies and witches and the human world of hardship and cruelty. I'm 9 and I couldn't put it down. It is a book to inspire young writers and encourage dyslexic readers because of how the writer overcame her disabilities.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and entrancing! 23 Mar 2007
"I have lit the first of seven candles to write my story by. On the table next to me is the silk purse that holds my mother's pearls and beside it is the ebony casket whose treasure I am only now beginning to understand. Next to that standing nearly as brightly as the moon, stands a pair of silver shoes."

This is just one of the many mesmerizing quotes filling Sally Gardner's book, "I, Coriander". Apart from being mesmeric the book has many other key elements, such as it being: tense, exciting, scary, and emotional.

The story is about a young girl called Coriander Hobie who lives with her Mother, Father, Danes (the house keeper) and Joan (the cook) in their rich London house next to the River Thames in the mid 1600's. While she was young, Coriander remembers only happiness - that was before she knew that the world was an evil place; and that she was soon to be hit regularly; have her Mother and Father stolen from her; and to be locked up in a chest and left to die.

As well as being a good book, it also has some background information about the civil war, as that was the time the story was set. There are also some drawings of what London used to look like back in the 1600's.

If this sounds like a cruel book to you don't get put off, there are many happy parts along the way. However there is quite a lot of brutality so I suggest no one under the age of 10 should read it.

If you love a good read then this is the book for you. There isn't a single page I wanted to skip because it's such a moving and entrancing book. Who would want to miss anything so good?

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical & lyrical 16 July 2006
Wow... that really is the better way to describe this! The words are so beautifully old fashioned (without being hard to read) and the story is equally beautiful as well. The kind of book that hexes you, and refuses to let you go. Every moment spent reading it is a moment in pure bliss!

The story tells of Coriander, and how she came to grow up. Loosing her mother at a very young age, her life takes on a very strange, twisted and evil road to adulthood. After her mother suddenly and unexpectantly dies, her father re-marries and then has to leave the country to save his own life. Coriander is left in the care of her new step mother, and her priest. A team that is nothing less than the devils own. They take pleasure in tormenting Coriander, and claim they are "witch hunters". Coriander on the other hand refuses to give in to the cruelty. And escapes to the Fairyland her mother once came from. Where she meets new friends, falls in love and meets yet another evil woman. The evil queen. Coriander must leave the fairylands behind, to save her mothers soul, and the life of her beloved!

I, Coriander is a highly original fairytale. Told through the eyes and words of a girl brought up with fine silk, and silver spoons. Yet she is no porcelain doll. She is a fiesty young woman, and she tackles whatever life throws at her! It is in deed a gorgeous novel! It'll be a treasure for years to come!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Children's book. Really??
I only decided to read the book as a part of the story was used for a Monologue for LAMDA exam (drama exam). I did not find out much after reading the whole book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Domestic Goddess
3.0 out of 5 stars Review
It turned up quite quickly and it's a great book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definite worth a read.:-)
Published 3 months ago by Emma Rees
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic & History in a Beautiful Package
This book is many things. It's a fantasy novel, but it's an historical one too, an adventure wrapped in a mystery with some of the most memorable characters you'll find in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Andrew D Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!!!
I bought this book because i didn't know what to read next and wanted something exciting, magical and original. Read more
Published 3 months ago by hedgyhoggy
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!
I thought that this book was an excellent read and I loved the language used. I started reading the book and initially thought, 'oh here we go, I'm not going to understand this at... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Phoebe Chick
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting but sad tale
This book was outstanding throughout. A real page turner I just couldn't put it down. You could easily get lost in this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Epiphany Bliss Railton
5.0 out of 5 stars I Coriander
This is one of my favourite books at the moment and it had all sorts of things in it that made me want to read on ! Over all its a really good book !!!
Published 5 months ago by Mathilda
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Couldn't put it down,have recommended it to.friends and family
not my usual read, enjoyed the change,give it a try and enjoy
Published 5 months ago by sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Fully Recommended very exciting story
Bought for a young girl who was struggling to read, she found it so exciting that she is now enjoying reading and therefore her reading is improving. Brilliant book.
Published 5 months ago by Julia Hickmott
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing book to read
It took me a little while to get into this book but when I did Io was hooked. Up late every night and reading at the table. This book is worth buying
Published 11 months ago by babsie247
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