Author: Sherryl Jordan
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Date of Publication: September 2018
Reviewer’s name: Christine Rush
Reviewer’s Job title: English teacher
Reviewer’s School name: Western Springs College
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Sherryl Jordan’s novels illuminate life and times long past - though the characters face challenges that are still relatable for teenage readers: parental authority, growing up and grappling with romantic feelings. The Anger of Angels is her latest, and introduces the feisty, flame-headed narrator Giovanna.
Vanna’s mother died at her birth, and she now lives in a medieval Italian court with her father, a jester. Into this setup comes a court painter and his handsome hunchbacked brother, recently arrived from a rival city state. The jester’s latest satirical play insults that state’s duke - and the novel follows the terrible consequences of this act.
Girls can’t have enough strong female protagonists and this is a rollicking piece of escapism that would be ideal for junior school reading programmes. Teachers could explore the characters’ journeys and relationships, the power of words – then and now - and how the author creates a vivid sense of time and place. I like to use extracts from novels as a jumping-off point for students’ own creative writing too.