Tiger Heart, written by Penny Chrimes, Publishing 9 January 2020 by Orion (Hachette)

Tiger Heart tells the story of Fly, an orphan climbing chimneys for a brutal man who is more likely to beat her than feed her. Fly is popular among the other sweeps and mudlarks and thieving children living on the streets of London. They look up to her and will do anything for her.

On the day she decides to run away, she climbs down a chimney and into the cage of a man eating tiger. An exciting start to an epic adventure featuring an evil king, an entire menagerie of exotic animals and a precious ruby. I was instantly hooked from the first paragraph and knew this book was going to be something special.

Fly is immediately likeable and there is a strong sense of courage and determination in her. Her language is typical of a street urchin and there is a handy guide to the lingo at the back of the book.

Amazingly, the tiger does not eat her but licks her clean and says “Blue blood”. Fly can speak to and listen to the tiger making her even more special and now there is a hint to the rest of the story. It does not play out perfectly for Fly and she and her tiger are in constant danger from the fat man and his servants. Using all her powers, her street friends and the ruby, Fly goes on a huge adventure to free the menagerie and escape back to her homeland.

Knowing nothing about herself, she is drawn to the ruby, and the tiger works to protect her from its darkness. She is the key to the freedom of her homeland. I won’t say more as it could spoil the story for others but this is going to be a huge hit once published and I can see it winning an award!

I was hooked and read it in two sittings! It is one I would like to read again and I think it would make an excellent class text. It starts on an exciting note and this continues throughout the entire story. I was on the edge of my seat with my heart in my throat. I love a book that makes you feel so strongly!

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