The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
The main character Eel, a fictional 12-year-old orphan, really brought the story to life. He is homeless and surviving as a mudlark (a scavenger) by the Thames, selling anything he can find to keep his life or death secret from the dangerous man who is hunting him. Eel also takes on odd jobs along Broad Street, which was the heart of the epidemic.
Eel’s presence in town naturally flowed into the cholera epidemic. How he came to meet and work for Dr. Snow, and was able to assist with the research to help save his street, was very believable. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the details it gave about such a devastating event, plus the persistence of a doctor to dispel the incorrect theory of how cholera is spread.
Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will certainly want to read this real-life medical mystery. It has an age range of 10–14, and although it deals with death, it is done very well and should not bother most.
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