The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal, #1)

ISBN: 1405221496
ISBN 13: 9781405221498
By: Julia Golding

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Adventure Favorites Fiction Historical Historical Fiction Mystery Series To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Set in 1790's Covent Garden this title whisks you back to a bygone era. It is the tale of Cat Royal, an orphan who lives at the back of the real-life theatre in Drury Lane.

Reader's Thoughts


Young Cat Royal has lived in the Royal Theatre ever since she was found abandoned on its doorstep, and acts as the theatre's "Jill of all trades" and mascot, although she has ambitions to become a writer of fiction and plays. When Cat accidentally discovers (well, she WAS evesdropping...) that the theatre's owner, Mr. Sheridan, is hiding a treasure somewhere in the theatre, she knows she must guard the secret closely. But of course, she can't resist conducting her own search for the treasure, and dangerously, she also can't resist spilling the beans to her new friend Pedro (a young violin virtuoso and freed slave). This sets off a chain of escapades and hairsbreadth escapes, during which Cat proves to be clever, resourceful, and loyal, not to mention plucky, although perhaps not as good at putting two and two together as the reader might hope.I did enjoy this; the 1790 setting is carefully evoked, and the inclusion of plot-essential historical information is only occasionally heavy-handed. Cat's a fun character, and this book will appeal to young mystery lovers as well as those who enjoy period pieces. The reader will more than likely figure out the truth about the "diamond" long before Cat does, which is a bit annoying and causes the book to stretch out longer than it maybe needs to: it clocks in at a hefty 424 pages, which is a somewhat daunting size for the intended audience, regardless of the Harry Potter phenomenon. This is the first book in a projected quartet, and I'm curious to see how Golding chooses to develop the character further.


The Diamond of Drury Lane follows Cat, a young girl growing up in the 1790s. Cat is fortunate as she tells us, she was left on the step of Drury Lane Theater as a baby and Mr Sheridan took her in. While she has no idea of her heritage she has a home and fascinating one at that.Unlike many of her peers Cat can read and write, taught to her by the previous prompt at Drury Lane. She is also street smart and knows how to handle herself when left on her own.The story starts with a riot at the theater because of a really bad play. That night Cat overhears Mr Sheridan talk about the Diamond of Drury Lane. When she’s discovered hiding behind a curtain Mr Sheridan tasks her with protecting the diamond.This book is beautifully written, exciting and full of interesting historical information and characters. It’s also very funny, Cat’s narration is excellent and vivid. Despite the adventure Julia Golding has not ignored the darker side to Cat’s world which I think is great.An excellent introduction to such a special girl, I’m really looking forward to reading Cat’s next adventure.


This lovely little book has the right balance of adventure, age appropriate realistic themes, and straight up fun to keep it's readers pleased. I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the series has to offer.

Emma Christina

I have read the first few pages of tgis book a couple if times and each down put it down, this time I perservered and was glad I did. The first few chapters were enough to keep me reading but not overly excited but as this tale unravelled I felt myself drawn closer. In the end I loved it, interesting but not overly complex, great character development and excitment in sackfuls. Just a shame the first few chapters can deceived into thinking it rather dull.


Oh, my! This book (& series) is amazing! I'm obsessed.When Catherine Royal (Cat) was a baby, she was left on the steps of the Royal Theatre in London. The theatre people adopted her, giving her a roof over her head and letting them be part of their lives. But Cat also has a tendency to attract trouble. When she overhears the theatre owner talking about the diamond he's hidden in the theatre, he enlists her help to keep his secret hidden. She doesn't know where the diamond is or what it looks like, but she sees everything that happens around her home and she does her best to keep people from snooping. But as word leaks out about the treasure, thieves become more bold and Cat's life may become shorter than she expected.

Allyana Ziolko

For some reason, I find it condescending when an author puts "dear reader" at least once in every chapter. Aside from that HUGE annoyance, it was okay.

Barbara Gordon

I quite liked this. My husband snaffled it away from me and read it first, laughing out loud several times. From the moment where Cat compares the theatre company to England, with Mr. Sheridan as the king, and herself as the mail-coach bringing news back and forth, leading Jonathan the prompter to describe himself as the bishop 'because he provides the word to those in need', I knew the author wasn't going to be lazy.So it's a good old-fashioned melodrama, with thrilling escapes, jeopardy to spare, and the heroes and villains pretty well pegged from the beginning, but perhaps more fun for that?The author does a good job, overall, of keeping modern attitudes out while keeping the characters sympathetic. It's clear that there was dissent and upheaval and nastiness, but the only lectures are from characters prone to lecture anyways. The poor are neither hapless nor saintly, and the rich are a mixed lot indeed.I'd recommend this, and I'll probably check out the sequels.


I read this last year, and I liked it alot- set in old England- Kat is an orphan taken in by the theatre on Drury Lane. She is feisty and appealing to all, including a nemesis- an unpleasant gang leader who is sweet on her. She unfortunately spurns him in a public and humiliating way, not understanding the ways of the heart and how vulnerable this boy is to her. She kicks off a chain of events that entangle lords, ladies, urchins and judges who are trying to find the Diamond of Drury Lane. An altogether likable farce set in a Dickensonian neighborhood.


Cat is an orphan and lives in Drury Lane theatre at the end of the 18th century under the protection of Mr Sheridan the owner. Mix in a couple of gangs, gang rivalry, newspaper censorship and little snippets of the the French Revolution, this all sets the stage for Cat's adventures. When I bought this I didn't realise it was a children's book. I'm not sure what age group it was aimed at but I'd have thought older children as it covers some pretty heavy subjects, and some of the language may not have been suitable for younger children. It was a good enough book, easy to read but I wasn't convinced about it. I didn't find it too realistic and wasn't overly fond of Cat to be honest. The 'baddies' weren't particularly convincing either. That sad it's not an adult book and children/YA may like this better. I didn't hate it and I'd give at least the second one a try to see if it improved.


OK, I'm going to attempt to duplicate the layout of the blurb for this book as well as I can here.AT THE THEATRE ROYAL IN DRURY LANE, COVENT GARDEN, THIS PRESENT DAY, BEING 1SI JANUARY, 1790,Will be presentedThe Diamond of Drury Lane(Written by Miss Cat Royal)PRINCIPAL CHARACTERSMISS CAT ROYAL - orphan and ward of the theatreMR. JOHNNY SMITH - prompt with a secretMR. SYD FLETCHER - leader of the Butcher's boysMR. BILLY 'BOIL' SHEPHERD - evil leader of rival gangAnd a HIDDEN diamond!WITH A NEW MUSICAL INTERLUDE BY MR. PEDRO HAWKINS, LATE OF AFRICA.To which will be added a farce, in which a hot air balloon will land on stage!So, Don picked this up from the kids' section a while ago, and it looked cute, so I added it to my list. It was cute. Unfortunately, for me at least, it was very simplistic. Some books in the 9-12 section are really quite complex and deep, and could almost be classified as teen books. And some books in that section definitely fall closer to the 9 end of that continuum. This was definitely one of the latter. It did have a cute story, with some endearing characters, but being some 16 years older than the intended audience, I found it very predictable. Pretty much every twist turned out exactly as I'd already figured out that it was going to, so it wasn't really the most engrossing book I've ever read. That said, I would ahve no trouble recommending it to younger readers, so even if for no other reason, reading it wasn't a total waste of time. And it really is always nice, when asked for a recommendation in the kids' section, to know something about one or two books other than the really popular ones.

Brooke Shirts

Ah, so satisfying in so many ways!Catherine "Cat" Royal is a foundling adopted by London's Drury Lane theater, circa the late 1700s. It's a position that lets her mingle with cast, crew, and audience members both high and low. When she overhears theater manager Mr. Sheridan saying how he is hiding a diamond in Drury Lane, her curiosity is piqued, although her discovery and subsequent protection of this diamond isn't exactly what anybody suspects.Add to this some narrow escapes from street gangs, tea parties with aristocrats, phony robbery charges, an African-American violin prodigy with his own agenda (yes, you read that correctly) and a sweet lil' love story and you have one of the best children's mysteries that I've read in long these many years. For bonus points, there's a glossary of terms in the back explaining all the adorably roguish 18th-century slang.I especially love the fact that Cat's transversing of various social classes is so plausible, and that the 18th-century mindset is so convincingly portrayed. Can't wait to read the sequel.


I really want to give this one 4.5 stars because I really liked it and am especially impressed because I'm not usually one for mysteries or historical fiction. However the characters in this book were so well-developd, and the heroine so winning I could not put down the story of the orphan girl who lives in a theatre, is freinds with royalty and street urchins alike, and fiercly loyal to them all. This is a book with broad appeal. Part mystery, part adventure, part historical fiction the Diamond of Drury Land has something for everyone. Cat is an orphan living in a theatre and therefore given far more freedoms than a girl living in 1790s London would otherwise have. One night she hears her benefactor talking about a diamond hidden in the theatre. The next day two new faces arrive - Pedro, a former slave who plays fiddle most excellently and Jonathan, the secretive new theatre prompter with a great talent for illustration. It is also around this time that Cat is introduced to Lord Francis and Lady Elizabeth. Pedro tells these upperclass children that Cat is a great playwright and so she is invited to their home to spin them tale. In the meantime Cat is caught in the middle of two local street gangs, one of which she desperately wishes to join. With so much going on Cat wonders where her future wll lead her. And where is that diamond?


Great book, and very definitely deserving of the awards it's won.Fast-moving plot and a wonderfully vivid setting in a late 18th century London theatre. The author's knowledge of the period enriches the plot without ever becoming detail-heavy. Lots of little jokes for adult readers as well, including a cameo appearance by Jane Austen.

Alexandra Gold

1st Book in the series 5 starsI enjoyed this book, it's dynamic , fun, entertaining and well written. I wish it had a much more bigger marketing campaign, it could have been almost famous like Harry Potter or Series of Unfortunate Events.I love Cat, she is clever, cunning and most of the time she manages to get herself into trouble but makes a great escape every time. Pedro is a likable character, Syd too, I have an affinity for Billy :) the rest of her friends are great to interact with, as Cat does in the book.It made me want to read more, I have the second book and already am 2/3 done. :)


Title: The Diamond of Drury LaneAuthor: Julia GoldingYear: 2006ISBN: (ISBN13: 9781405221498)Type: bookGenre: Historical FictionLength/Pages & Reading Level: 421 pages; 9 and up.Publisher/Studio name: Egmont Books (UK)Plot: This story takes place in the late 18th century England and centers on a young girl raised in a theater. She is named after the theater. The performers, workers and owners are her family. She learns of a Diamond in the theater and enlists the help of a young performer to search for it. They encounter problems when a local gang lead by Cat’s nemesis discovers what they are searching for. When Cat learns that Johnny, the cartoonist accused of treason is the diamond she attempts to smuggle him out of England. This ignites a series of adventures that entail being arrested and encounters with gangs. She is ultimately successful in getting Johnny out of England and returns to her theater to discover she is the Diamond of the Theater Royal.Review: This is a great story for the younger kids. The protagonist in the story is likeable, brave, inquisitive and smart. The book is designed like a play with acts and scenes. There is also a glossary for the slang used In the book. The author provides maps of London. I love stories centered on young strong-willed girls.Annotation: Cat Royal is an Orphan raised in a Theater in 18th century London. She grows up in the tough gangs of Covent Garden and embarks on a quest to find the Diamond of Theater Royal. She uses her grit, wit and intelligence to survive.See Also: Cat Royal Series

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