Sharing the joy of children’s books

Black Wreath: The Stolen Life of James Lovett


Looking for some fast-paced historical fiction set in Dublin? Surprisingly, we have just the thing …

Black WreathJames Lovett’s life is about to change.

And it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Son of the wealthy but down-on-his-luck Lord Dunmain, James finds himself alone on the streets of Dublin when his father and stepmother disown him and frame his death. This act of betrayal calls into question James’ identity and his very place in the world. And when his father dies suddenly in duel, James fears he has lost any hope of regaining the life he lost. James must re-define himself in this new world, and take his destiny into his own hands.

But the dark streets are rough, and they don’t want to let him go.

He encounters young students at Trinity College Dublin, rival gangs in the dangerous Liberties, chimney sweeps and shoe shiners by Customs House Quay, and threatening highwaymen in Phoenix Park. Always the question remains: will James be able to reclaim his inheritance from the cruel stepmother and uncle who stole it from him? Or will he be forced to remain on the streets, where danger lurks down dark laneways and no one is who they seem?

Sirr builds James’ world, the world of a Dublin long ago, slowly and quietly around the reader – a street there, a pub here, a lamppost and the quays, and suddenly Sirr’s city is alive in all its enthralling and dangerous glory. The narrator’s voice is confident and sure, sweeping the reader away with James on his adventures.

Black Wreath is a glorious book. If you know Dublin, it is great fun imagining James navigating through familiar parts of the city and imagining how these places looked a couple of hundred years ago. Even if you don’t know Dublin, the world building is strong, his plot engaging, and James, himself, is a likeable and believable protagonist. Black Wreath is recommended for anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned tale of adventure.


About the author

Julie Le Blanc

Julie Le Blanc completed her PhD on Irish and British Children’s Literature in Trinity College Dublin in 2016. She’s particularly interested in medieval Irish stories, outer space, and hobbits, but not necessarily in that order. She can be found scribbling stories of her own and reading voraciously in the nooks and crannies of Dublin’s coziest cafés. She also frequents Providence, Rhode Island’s pastry shops, but don’t tell anyone.

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