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All Fall Down
By Susan Geason

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All Fall Down

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All Fall Down
By Susan Geason
Read How You Want, (2009)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Little Hare Books)
ISBN: 978-1442952409
Genre: Young Adult, Historic Fiction

Reviewed by Angela Evans - November 23, 2009

Christabel McManus is a wealthy, and very spoiled, fourteen-year-old with more free time than is good for her. She discovers that one of the household's maids, Maggie Rafferty has run off and that Maggie's husband, whom all thought was long dead, had turned up very much alive. Worse, he had 'taken' his son in order to train him in the art of pickpocketing and thievery. As the boy's father, he had ever right to do this, and Maggie has no recourse, because the year is 1900, and women did not have all the rights that they have today. Wanting to do something about the situation, Christabel decides that she is just the person to find Maggie's eight-year-old son, and return him to his mother.

Written by Susan Geason, All Fall Down is set in Sydney, Australia in the year 1900. Although technically a work of teen-fiction, readers of all ages will delight in this thrilling adventure story filled with historical details that bring 1900's Sydney vividly to life. The story is set in a time of sweeping change, both for Australia and the world. It is a time when the drive for women's rights was gaining momentum, and when great strides were being made in the realm of public health, two topics that are featured in this story.

Filled with gripping details about life in Sydney at the turn of the last century, the story follows Christabel as she dresses as a boy and ventures into The Rocks looking for the missing boy. At the time, The Rocks was a coastal slum that was one of the most dangerous areas of Sydney because it was ruled by gangs and ruffians, and was a hotbed for disease. Along the way she faces not only personal dangers, but stumbles upon a danger that could destroy the entire city - bubonic plague. The daughter of a doctor, Christabel has seen far too many people die from disease, her own mother included. So when she notices the first signs of the disease, she knows that she is a witness to what could be the beginning of a devastating plague. However, can she get word to her father, who works for the Government Inspector of Health for New South Wales before it is too late?

The outbreak of bubonic plague that features so prominently in this book was a real event, as are the historical facts about women's suffrage and the very real poverty that prevailed in the area known as The Rocks. The Salvation Army also plays a significant role in this story, and it's role in helping the residents of The Rocks adds to the authenticity and strength of this novel. Throughout, Geason effortlessly interweaves riveting facts within the framework of a gripping adventure story that is sure to interest readers of all ages.

All Fall Down is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats that range from 16-24 point fonts. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available to not only visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.

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