Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free by Kathleen Karr
Perhaps the only thing I like better than historical fiction is historical fiction that’s based on real events, especially little-known ones. Kathleen Karr has found one of those types of events and brought it to light in this delightful account.
It’s a terrific coming of age tale, with history and friendships and lots of wonderful characters. The book is out of print, but there are used copies easily available, or check your library.
Several years ago I read the book and really enjoyed it. Before writing this post I decided I needed a refresher on it, and I’m currently listening to it. That’s turned out to be an excellent choice, because it’s fabulous as an audio book – music plays such a big role in the story so I love that the audio book includes that as well.
Listening to the actors sing the parts from the performance is even better than reading about it, so I’d highly recommend getting this on audio if you can. It’s available through Audible or OverDrive, so check your library if you don’t have an Audible subscription.
In prison, there are few secrets. But Libby Dodge, the youngest inmate, guards the nature of her crime from the other women, even as they openly recount their former lives as arsonists, thieves, and prostitutes. Libby’s hopeless and miserable situation changes unexpectedly with the arrival of a new chaplain, Mrs. Wilkinson. Mrs. Wilkinson has surprising and newfangled ideas about prison reform, which include launching an elaborate production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. The production transforms the women–their views of themselves, their abilities, their place in the world.
Title: Gilbert & Sullivan Set Me Free
Author: Kathleen Karr
Category: Juvenile Fiction / Historical
My Rating: 5 Stars
Previously on The Deliberate Reader
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