Well, it depends. This one, a prequel to Elizabeth Wein’s excellent Code Name Verity, was one I waited for, wondering if it would really match up with what I remembered of a character, her situation, and a time period. Then, about five chapters in, I realized I didn’t really care if it was a prequel or not. It’s just a good story.
Why? The mystery involved in a missing man, a body, the Water Bailiff, and a family of aristocrats reminds me of great English mysteries where thin layers are peeled back, one after another, to reveal all kinds of ugliness, bitterness, secrets, and even good. Julia Beaufort-Stuart is bold and afraid, cautious and confident, aware of her privilege but limited by its demands, too.
This book may explain a lot about the character she becomes in Code Name Verity, but while the connection is wonderful, it’s not necessary. Julia and the story are enough. Wonderfully enough.
The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein