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Sturtevant, Katherine. At the sign of the star.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 149p. c2000 0-374-40458-5. $5.95. J

London of 1677 is a glorious home for 12-year-old Meg. She doesn't mind the noise or filth, and revels in the bustle. Her father's bookshop, and the manuscripts submitted to him for publication, give Meg a window into the world of playwrights and authors. She loves the intellectualism, and she loves that the shop will one day be hers: inheriting it will allow her full access into the literary world, and will assure her independence where other girls would need to marry. But when Meg's widowed father suddenly marries again, all those plans are destroyed. There will now be other children, heirs who will supersede her. Meg's fury shows itself as she and her stepmother spar over what skills she should learn, and Meg's impatient father offers her a chance to more away to the country. But busy, intellectual London is where she belongs, and Meg must figure out a way to make peace with her situation and family.

Readers worried about Meg's future may be disappointed that the resolution is more philosophical than logistical,.but the consistent narrative voice, references to real authors and playwrights of the time, and Meg's honest emotions make for an engaging piece of historical fiction. Rebecca Rabinowitz, V.H. Scholar, Child. Lit., Simmons College, Boston, MA
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Author:Rabinowitz, Rebecca
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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