The Secret of the Rose
Sarah L. Thomson

Rosalind and her brother Robin are in London trying to find the prison where their father held for the crime of being a Catholic, which is illegal under the current queen’s rule in England. After asking for directions from a couple of gentlemen, Rosalind and her brother become lost and then trapped on a dead end street. There they encounter the two gentlemen again. One grabs and holds Robin back while the other pins Rosalind to the street with every intention of taking advantage of her (rape). Somehow she and her brother manage to get away before anything can happen, but not before one of the men can take Rosalind’s purse containing most of the money they had managed to gather from their home setting off to try and find their father. After this incident and being left with what little money Robin had in his purse, not even enough for a night at an inn, the two of them end up sleeping in a narrow alleyway.

The next morning Rosalind comes up with an idea to protect herself on the streets of London. She then uses some of the money they have to buy a pair of breeches and a doublet along with a few other items, and sells her skirt and bodice. She then takes a knife and proceeds to cut off her long locks of hair. She now emerges on the streets of London as Richard Archer leaving Rosalind behind. With her new disguise Richard (Rosalind) sets out to find work as an apprentice. While on the streets they meet a man who offers the pair of them work, food and a place to stay. After what had happened the previous day Richard (Rosalind) cautiously accepts the invitation. Once there the two discover their offer is at a playhouse. Richard (Rosalind) is aghast but Robin is intrigued. Robin is taken on by Master Henslowe as an apprentice. Richard (Rosalind) refuses to have anything to do with the players, thus Richard (Rosalind) ends up taking on an apprenticeship with Master Marlowe the man who guided them to the theater (the Rose). Master Marlowe is also a playwright, Richard (Rosalind) apprenticeship consists of re-writing Master Marlowe's plays and taking care of any other errands he asks for. During this time Richard (Rosalind) learns that her Master is keeping secrets of his own. Can Rosalind find out his secrets and keep the two of her own (being Catholic and being a girl in boy’s clothing)?

This was not one of my favorite books. It felt long and drawn out, and took a long time to develop everything almost to the point of over development. I am not sure as to what grade I would recommend this book to. - AP