Cat Royal

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Cat Royal
7 books
Author Julia Golding
Country United Kingdom, United States
Language English
Genre Children's, Historical fiction
Published 2006 to present
Media type Print (hardcover)

Cat Royal (also known as Cat Royal Adventures) is a series of 7 historical fiction adventure books by Julia Golding, a British novelist. The main character of the series is an orphan named Catherine "Cat" Royal. The series are set in 18th Century London where Cat lives in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, after she was abandoned on the front steps of the theatre and taken in by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the owner of the theatre. The main themes are slavery and equality between people from all races and social classes. While the main cast of characters are fictional, some real historical figures, such as Olaudah Equiano, feature as supporting characters.

The first book, The Diamond of Drury Lane, takes place in January 1790, and the seventh book, Cat's Cradle, takes place in October, 1792. Originally, the books had illustrated covers, but these were later replaced with photographic covers, with a model representing the protagonist, Cat Royal.

Themes[edit]

Themes shown throughout the series include acceptance of different ethnic categories, and expressing the belief that it's not what you like or your social class that matters, but rather, your personality. The theme of making one's way through adolescence could also be considered an aspect of the series, as the protagonist struggles to find work, and a home where she can be accepted for who she is and not be pressured into marriage and other issues faced by most young women during the time period in which the books are set.

Characters[edit]

Main Characters[edit]

  • Catherine "Cat" Royal: An orphan left on the steps of Drury Lane theatre in January 1780 as an infant child aged two or three years old. She was taken in by Mr Sheridan, the theatre owner. Cat is very strong-willed, independent and feisty, though she does have a sense of humor if she thinks it appropriate to use it. Though often stubborn and headstrong, Cat is compassionate and caring towards her friends, and the lengths she goes to for them often leave her in danger, and leave her friends worried and exasperated. As an orphan, Cat's exact age has never been confirmed, but during the events of Cat's Cradle she believes she is about fifteen years old, making her approximately twelve or thirteen in the first book. She is described as quite short, just over four foot four, with curly red hair and green eyes; in Cat Among The Pigeons, she crops her hair short when she has to disguise herself as a boy. Cat is an aspiring novelist and loves acting and living in the theatre.
  • Pedro Amakye (previously Pedro Hawkins): One of Cat's close friends, an African former slave and talented violinist and actor, also a member of Syd's gang. Pedro is very proud about his musical talent. Though Pedro himself is not described in much detail, it is mentioned that he is about the same age as Cat and has the darkest skin of any child she has ever seen. Pedro comes across as kind, calm, gentle, quiet, and quite intelligent, though he can have bursts of an adventurous, and sometime even rebellious, attitude. He is also incredibly brave and strong, and can be counted upon. He doesn't like to have people worrying about him and prefers to defend himself, and he cares very deeply for his friends. However, in Black Heart of Jamaica, Pedro decides to leave London to join a slave revolt in San Domingo.
  • Earl Francis "Frank" of Arden: Mischievous friend of Cat's, and the son and heir of the Duke of Avon, though he is very shy about his true title and is in actuality somewhat embarrassed by it. He is described as having curly dark brown hair and blue eyes, and in Cat O' Nine Tails it is also mentioned that he is quite muscular. Frank is very popular among women, and while staying in Bath during Cat O' Nine Tails, it is mentioned that at the ball he is constantly surrounded by girls hoping to dance with him, a situation in which he feels uncomfortable. It is also mentioned throughout The Diamond Of Drury Lane that Frank has an extensive vocabulary, and will often use elaborate terms that leave his friends clueless as to what he is trying to say. He is a member of The Butcher's Boys, Syd's gang, though his parents do not know this.
  • William "Billy" Shepherd: Known by his full name among clients, William Shepherd, Billy is a recurring antagonist throughout the first three books, attempting to kill her in both The Diamond Of Drury Lane and Den Of Thieves, though he does save her life in Cat Among The Pigeons, but was solely for the purpose of having her be in debt to him. However, from Cat O' Nine Tails onwards, he appears to go from antagonist to antihero, and manages to save her life again in Black Heart Of Jamaica, and becomes her travelling companion on their way back to London from Tortuga. He affectionately refers to Cat as "Moggy", since she forbid him from calling her "Kitten" (a nickname given to her by close friends) in Cat Among The Pigeons. It has been hinted that he has romantic feelings for Cat, having passionately kissed her in Cat O' Nine Tails, and attempts to repeat his actions in The Middle Passage, and Cat has to remind him that he is engaged to Miss Abingdon, to whom he agreed to marry in order to settle her father's debts to him. In some of the novels, he is nicknamed "Billy Boil" due to a boil on his nose, however the use of this nickname started to dwindle in later instalments in the series. Billy has been described as having dark hair, said to be either dark brown or black, with grey eyes with flecks of green. Similarly to Syd, Billy speaks with a strong cockney accent, though it is mentioned in Cat O' Nine Tails that after his abrupt change in social status he has started to imitate received pronunciation when in public. In Cat Among The Pigeons, it is mentioned that Billy is eighteen years old, meaning he is about twenty in the final book - Cat mentions that there is an approximate five year age difference between them. On Julia Golding's website, it is also mentioned that Billy has a younger half-brother called Paul, though he is nicknamed Spike by his friends.
  • Sydney "Syd" Fletcher: Cat's oldest and most loyal friend in Covent Garden, and leader of the Butcher's Boys, a Covent Garden gang. Syd is a competitive boxer, which he does professionally (known by his title "The Bow Street Butcher") though he grew up with his parents in a butcher shop, and works there whenever he has time. He is in love with Cat, which he first makes clear in Den of Thieves by briefly kissing her on the lips, and he is planning a life for them together, although Cat is not so sure about this. While she appreciates him as a precious friend, she does not love him, and is afraid that his future life with her will restrain her from achieving her dreams of travelling and working in the theatre. He is described as being over six feet tall with blonde hair, and speaks with a cockney accent. Syd often threatens violence against any person who has shown any form of hostility toward Cat, something that Cat finds sweet but distressing. Syd is the same age as Billy Shepherd, making him about twenty years old in Cat's Cradle. His full name is Sydney, though he doesn't like his actual name and is very shy about it. In Cat O' Nine Tails, Cat also reveals that Syd is illiterate.
  • Lady Elizabeth "Lizzie" Fitzroy (neé Avon): The daughter of the Duke of Arden, and Frank's older sister, who considers Cat a dear friend despite their differing social classes. She is described as being very pretty, with chestnut hair and blue eyes. In The Diamond Of Drury Lane, it is revealed that she met Johnny at her debutante and has been secretly in love with him since, and leaves in Den Of Thieves to live with him in Philadelphia, and she gives birth to their first child, Catherine Fitzroy, in Cat O' Nine Tails. Lizzie is a passionate abolitionist.
  • Lord Jonathan "Johnny" Fitzroy: The son of the Earl of Ranworth who rebelled against his family and failed to live up to his father's expectations. Instead, he started drawing discriminating cartoons featuring members of the British government and posting them in newspapers, using his pen name "Captain Sparkler". However, when the ominous "Captain Sparkler" was made wanted for his crimes, Johnny joined Theatre Royal as the new prompt, using the assumed identity of Jonathan Smith, though Cat is quick to guess his true identity due to his refusal to venture outside, claiming it was "unsafe", and ink stains on his fingers from his pens while drawing. He escaped London and flees to America in The Diamond Of Drury Lane. He has been in love with Lady Elizabeth since they first met at her debutante, and they are reunited when they both travel to Paris in Den Of Thieves. When they get married and he changes his citizenship, Johnny stops his cartoons to become an artist professionally, though this has also come to a temporary stop since the birth of his daughter, Catherine. He is described as a "tall youth" with black hair and dark brown eyes that can easily be mistaken for black in colour.

Secondary Characters[edit]

  • Catherine Elizabeth Fitzroy: Lizzie and Johnny's daughter, who was born in Cat O' Nine Tails, and Cat's godchild. As she has only been known in the books as a baby not much is known of her personality, though Lizzie did mention in Cat O' Nine Tails that she was a rather boisterous and troublesome, features that make her comparable to Cat, and thus inspiring her parents to name her after Cat.
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan: Cat's patron and owner of the Drury Lane Theatre. In Den of Thieves he reveals he is going to knock down the theatre build a new one, something Cat doesn't like and makes her angry, and in Cat O' Nine Tails the construction work had already begun. Although he knocked down what Cat knows as home, Mr Sheridan has Cat's best interests at heart, and loves her as a father would love a daughter.
  • Robert "Rabbie" Bruce: Cat's younger brother, a Scottish cattle thief found living with his father's family. The two are actual half-siblings through their mother, though Cat usually misses out this detail. When he first meets Cat, in Cat's Cradle, he has his suspicions that they are not actually related, and does not want anything to do with her, though she is persistent. However, he eventually grows to care for her, and accepts her offer to go to London to live with her. He is taller than Cat despite being younger, has dark brown hair and brown eyes, and is about twelve years old. Rabbie speaks with a strong Scottish accent.
  • Signor Angelini: Conductor of the theatre orchestra, and very passionate about music, especially his apprentice Pedro.
  • Duke of Avon: Frank and Lizzie's father and duke of Avon.
  • Duchess of Avon: Wife of the duke, and a retired singer.
  • Kingston Hawkins: A cruel slave owner and Pedro's original master. Kingston claims that Pedro still remains his property and almost succeeds in getting him back in Cat Among the Pigeons. In Black Heart of Jamaica, he holds Cat hostage on his tobacco plantations and treats her like a slave, but then his house sets on fire and Billy rescues her.
  • Joseph: Frank's footman and friend to Cat.
  • Nick: Syd's right-hand man and assistant leader of the butcher's boys.
  • Joe 'The Card' Murray: A member of Syd's gang. Also street card sharp.
  • Meat Pie Matt: Member of Billy's gang.
  • Ferret Face: Another member of Billy's gang.
  • Charles "Charlie" Hengrave: Franks friend who helps Cat fool his teachers into thinking she's a boy when Cat has gone into hiding from the Bow Street Runners in Cat Among the Pigeons.
  • Lord Fitzroy: Johnny's father, helps Cat out a difficult situation.
  • Bridget O'Riley: Irish girl introduced Cat's Cradle.
  • Mary Moir: One of the workers at the mill in New Lanark who claims to know the truth about Cat's family, and even confesses to being her kin. She has four children called Katrine, Ian, Dougie and Jeannie, to whom she is a strict yet caring mother. In the book, she is described as having dark red hair that may have been similar to Cat's in color when she was younger, and is in her mid-thirties. In Cat's Cradle she dies of an unspecified fever a matter of hours after revealing to Cat the information on her heritage. She reveals that Cat is her younger sister's illegitimate child, and has a half brother called Robert Bruce, who lives with his father's family.
  • Katrine, Ian, Dougie and Jeanie Moir: Cat's Scottish cousins. Katrine is a quiet teenager a few years older than Cat who cares dearly for her family and grieves heavily at her mother's death. Ian and Dougie are boys of fifteen and thirteen years old who love adventure and can often get into trouble. Jeannie is a sweet child of about six years of age, she enjoys Cat's company and loves role-play.
  • Mrs. Reid: Former head of wardrobe department in theater, strict but loving motherly figure towards Cat.
  • Jesse Stirling: Cat's deceased biological mother, mentioned in Cat's Cradle, described as having been a reckless woman with no morals who ran away from home with an actor - who became Cat's father - when she was sixteen. However, when he left her while she was pregnant and she was forced to survive on the streets with her daughter, as her father had disinherited her after she ran away and was no longer welcome at home. Jesse then met a Scotsman named Kenneth Bruce, whom she fell in love with and hoped to marry, though he made the condition that she left Cat in the care of someone else as he didn't want her child born to another man bearing ill to his family name. When it was discovered she was pregnant, this time with Kenneth's child, she decided to leave Cat with the theatre, as she would be with "her father's people". When she returned to Scotland, she married Kenneth and had her second child, a boy she named Robert. She died of childbirth a few days later. Jesse was apparently much like Cat in appearance, with her own sister having first believed that Cat was actually Jesse, though Jesse had a Scottish accent. It is revealed that the name she had given to Cat was Maudie Stirling, though Cat decides to keep her current name.

Books[edit]