Book Review: The Pearl In The Ice by Cathryn Constable

First Published in Great Britain in 2019 by Chicken House.

Add The Pearl In The Ice to your Goodreads TBR:

ISBN: 9781912626519

Purchase Links:



Angus & Robertson:

Amazon AU:

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Mystery, Adventure.

Page Count: 299

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Chicken House Books:

Marina’s father, a naval captain, has been away for most of her life – certainly since her mother died – and yet Marina feels the pull of an ocean she’s never known.

When sent to boarding school to learn to be a lady, Marina decides instead to stow away on her father’s ship. A perilous voyage awaits – but where are they sailing to and why, and what has it to do with the dark shape in the deep that seems to be following them?

My Review:

I received a copy of The Pearl In The Ice from Scholastic Books Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

This was such a wonderfully unique novel! I absolutely loved it! Middle Grade of any genre is often a refreshing experience for me to read, almost like a palate cleanser if you would. It was so incredibly sweet reading from Marinas perspective, seeing the world as she does in her 12 year old perceptions, granted I did find her to be slightly naive at times, though I feel like that may have also been her utter precious, childlike innocence seeping through the text. I did feel so sad for her throughout though, the poor love lost her Mother at a young age and her Father wants her to go to a boarding school in the hopes that she’ll get the education befitting a young girl of the times, one that would groom her into an appropriate wife and mother, as was expected of the era.

I absolutely loved the fact that The Pearl In The Ice leapt across a couple genres! I was really excited to read the historical aspects of this, especially with a young lead character at the helm, purely because I’ve not actually read a huge amount of Middle Grade Historical Fiction novels with a young girl leading the adventure! Oh, what a heartfelt and fun and often mysterious adventure this was too! I loved Marina’s sheer bravery, determination and curiosity throughout and I myself was often wondering the connection between the main story as it were and the whispers of mermaids that lured Sailors into the murky depths of the waters with a beautiful but deadly song! How did this all tie together?! And why did Marina have an indescribable pull to the ocean, heading its song and feeling its chilly breeze throughout, let alone feeling unaffected when she would be submerged in its icy depths….

I really enjoyed reading about the side characters throughout this book too, the men who worked with Marina’s Father were a great crew, loyal to their Captain’s words and directions to a tee. I was completely intrigued by the young Miss Smith, who is a supposed ally to Britain, helping the men at sea detect war enemies, shocking young Marina with the fact that she smokes (for Marina had never seen a woman smoke, let alone hear about a young woman working in a field primarily occupied by men. I loved how nurturing Miss Smith was towards Marina, she initially just came across as completely warm hearted, wanting this girl to be safe and helping her when she’s found herself in a pickle, but given the penultimate reveal with Miss Smith’s character….well, I’ll leave that to you to pick up and read! Oh, I must mention the litter of dogs that Marina looks after whilst on her Father’s ship, I loved reading how Marina looked after them and named each of them, even if they’re trained to help on sea expositions, Marina definitely was fond of them!

However, I did find that I had some slight trepidation and confusion about the last quarter of this book, as much as I fully loved the first three quarters, honestly I had been feeling so excited as I felt like I’d potentially discovered a new favourite Middle Grade book, but I just felt like as Marina’s proverbial ties to the sea were further explored and as the true loyalties of some characters were completely revealed, I just felt so confused! It’s almost as if the reveals were left too late or too close to the ending and that too much was waiting to be revealed and when it was announced, then two more would hit, too. At any rate for me, it was just how this last quarter of the book in its slightly convoluted fashion that took away from if becoming a 5 star reading experience!

At 299 pages, The Pearl In The Ice absolutely makes for a breezy, addictive, refreshing read. It definitely had me thinking throughout, both from a historical perspective (it still completely stuns me that people (men), thought that women weren’t entitled to a full bodied career and that they were only meant to be wives and mothers, it’s like really?! I do think though that this wonderful marine adventure with more than a healthy dose of mystery will appeal to many though, so I completely recommend picking up a copy!

Happy Reading,


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