The Runaway Girls is Jacqueline Wilson’s latest novel and is once more set in Victorian London, this time against the backdrop of the Great Exhibition.
Lucy is a privileged little girl, living in a house surrounded by servants. But her father is away a lot and she doesn’t like her stepmother. Lucy is jealous of her new baby half sister and isn’t even allowed to hold her. She has a new governess she doesn’t like. Most of all, she really misses her nurse, who was dismissed because her father felt Lucy was too old for a nurse.
One afternoon, Lucy looks out of the window and thinks she sees Nurse. So she runs out of the door and follows her down the street. By the time she catches her, she realises two things – it isn’t Nurse and she has no idea how to get back home.
When she is mugged and her clothes stolen, Lucy doesn’t know what to do. But then she meets Kitty. Kitty is a similar age to Lucy. She has no family and has lived her life on the streets. She takes Lucy under her wing. At first, Lucy is horrified by the ways Kitty gets food and money. But it isn’t long before she has learned all of the tricks too. Lucy doesn’t miss home and her comfortable life, she loves life on the streets.
But two little girls on the streets of Victorian London, even streetwise ones like Kitty are always going to be in danger. Every time things seem to be going right for the girls, something goes wrong again.
Will Lucy ever go back to her privileged life?
Runaway Girls is an enjoyable read, suitable for kids in around years 3 to 6. Is it Jacqueline Wilson’s finest work? No. Is it a good read? Yes.
Lucy and Kitty are likeable characters and the Victorian setting is atmospheric. There is even a familiar character at the end, which Jacqueline Wilson’s biggest fans should spot straightaway.
I would recommend The Runaway Girls to any children who enjoy Jacqueline Wilson’s book or any who have an interest in Victorian times.