The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett

 The Big Music cover

The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett was first published in 1951 and it won the Carnegie Medal which I think it definitely deserved.

The setting is the English Cotswolds in the late 1400s. It’s a very rural area and sheep and wool are the mainstay of the local economy. Nicholas is in his teens and he’s the son of a successful wool merchant, but he mucks in with the other boys helping out with the sheep. When some men from Lombardy make their way to his family home to do some business with his father Nicholas is worried. He had seen the men earlier and there is something he doesn’t like about them. But his father pays no attention to Nicholas. He is convinced that he can make a good deal with the Lombards.

This is a really good read which is aimed at older children I suppose, but is well worth reading whatever your age. There’s a lot of history in it but it never feels like a history lesson and the author also illustrated the book which adds interest. Her drawings are charming with details of the fashions of the day, weaving looms, dyeing cloth, spinning and all sorts. The author had studied at the Chelsea School of Art, she wrote six books of historical fiction and I will definitely look out for the others.

2 thoughts on “The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett

  1. I was given this and another of her books a few years ago but have not read them yet, although I am sure I would like them. They remind me of Hester Burton’s books, if you have read her, although maybe she has more female protagonists.

    I will move this higher on the TBR!

    • Constance,
      I haven’t read anything by Hester Burton yet, but The Wool-Pack does have a very good young female character who plays a big part in the plot. I hope you do enjoy it when you get around to reading it.

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