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


This story is part of a series which includes: "Cat Amoung the Pigeons", "Den of Thieves", "Cat O'Nine Tails" and "Black Heart of Jamaica".An orphaned 12-year-old girl named Catherine 'Cat' Royal lives in the Theatre Royal in late 18th Century London. She was found by the owner of the theatre (Mr Sheridan) who took her in and named her Cat Royal (the royal coming from the name of the theatre) and since lived there. She is a sort of mascot, maid-cum-runabout to the theatre whose main job includes tidying, acting as a prompt during shows etc. Cat overhears Mr Sheridan and a man named Marchmont talking about hiding a diamond in the theatre, this thus starts the problem which spans the entire novel 'Where (or who) is the diamond?'. This story is written from Cat’s viewpoint as a child who knows she was unwanted, but feels privileged to lead a life behind the scenes of the theatre, running errands, watching the best shows and plays in London and sleeping amongst the costumes in the attics. After an accident with one of the props, Cat ends up dangling from the platforms above the stage. Pedro, a young black boy who has a genius for the violin, saves her life but then runs off, Cat goes to find him and they run into a local gang of criminal boys led by Billy ‘Boil’ Shepherd– but attracts some punishment herself. Cat is gutsy and charming, and also pragmatic – in that she shrugs off life’s injustices as something she has been dealt and must put up with.The story begins in the luscious atmosphere of the theatre and extends to the filthy alleyways and markets of London which are Cat’s playground. She mingles with the high and low of society, from the actors on stage to the lords and ladies in the stalls to the barrow boys in the grimy marketplace. The tale is packed with local colour and authentic detail. There is, of course the mystery of the diamond to be revealed too.I found this story and Cat’s characterisation delightful, and as an introduction for young people to the world of historical fiction, this is an excellent book and highly recommended.

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?


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.


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.


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.


I'm not one for writing reviews, but here's in simple terms of what I thought. I loved it. Intriguing. A little young. I think they could have used less characters and then develop those characters a little better.


The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding was rather boring. It took a long time to get to the turning point in the story and nothing was that interesting. It was hard to get into it and lacked a good plot. The summary on the back is really interesting but once you read it, it really has no substance and lack of climax. It is really long, 419 pages. I don't recommend you read it. The main character and narrator, Cat, is a 12 year old orphan who lives in the Royal Theater on Drury Lane in 18th Century London, England. She hears of a diamond that the owner of the theater has hidden. Cat soon goes on a quest with the Duke's son and Pedro, a violinist, to find the diamond. I recommend this for younger ages instead of 9-13. I feel like this book is suited for younger ages. It was hard to relate to. It's still an okay book, I just don't like it that much.

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. :)


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.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman

This is a winner! (Literally, too, since it did win the Smarties prize.) Cat (Catherine) Royal is a charming, vivid, endearing, and plucky heroine. Readers really care about what happens to her and her friends. The host of friends are also drawn with details and depth. One can practically hear them speak and see them act and react to Cat's adventures. The clever device of having Cat being immersed and specially educated in the backstage of a theater gives credit to Cat's deft hand at recounting events and using words above her station in life. For example, on p. 89: (I cast around for some suitably Shakespearean language to impress them, not having in truth a clue what I was talking about) "the wickedness of treason, the sting of revenge, and the noble disinterestedness of love, all set behind the scenes." The fast pace, the non-stop new obstacles, the many friendships between the characters, the gradual and satisfying unraveling of the truth about the Diamond, the breezy and energetic prose -- all contribute to make a completely enjoyable reading experience. I especially appreciate how Cat got into bigger and bigger trouble and in deeper and deeper danger as the story moves along so that toward the end of the tale, you are really anxious to see how she gets out of this last huge scrape.


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


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.

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.

Christalle Luneta, Huntress

Let me start off by saying Wow! I did not expect that.This book surprised me, my friend had recommended this to me a while back and my idiotic answer "you know I'm good I got other books I need to read" Biggest reason for this answer is because yes I judged the book by its cover, I am guilty of doing this so many times and then later be slapping myself because I didn't read those books sooner.*Slap* Okay now that we got that overwith. The main character Cat Royal is everything a herione should be she's witty, clever, not to mention knows how to hold her own! Girl power!Anyway I won't really go into details about the other characters, even though I loved them, because then this review would be super long, but I will mention one more character.Billy Shepard (did I even spell that right?) Back to the point, I usually go for the whole bad boy type of guys, but okay Billy is a whole nother category of bad. If you want to find out how bad, you'll just have to read and see for yourself ;) Alrighty now from the look of this book you may think its only for younger kids elementary/middle school, NO! Think again, I am a high schooler and I really enjoyed this, my other friend who's also in high school enjoyed it as much as I did! The problem! Not many people know about this book (series). I really wish more people knew about it! This book series deserves to be known!Well to wrap it up, I fully recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of historical fiction with a lot of action and a funny twist to it!Why are you still here? Go read this book!

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