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The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice

2023 - Shortlisted


Judges' Comments

Set in provincial France in 1665, The Rat-Catcher’s Apprentice is a historical fiction novel for middle grade readers. Twelve-year-old Marie is set to become a maid but an accident means she is forced to apprentice to a frightening and unappealing rat-catcher instead. However, all is not what it seems. While Marie adjusts to her new life she becomes involved in a life-threatening adventure when a deadly plague sweeps through the country.  

The author creates a strong sense of place, bringing the past to life clearly for the reader to enjoy. The main character, Marie, is well-drawn and likeable as are the other characters in this adventurous and thrilling debut novel that offers mysteries to be solved and twists and turns to surprise.