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Crossing to Paradise

By Kevin Crossley-Holland

An adventure, a pilgrimage, an end, and a beginning. Gatty works in the fields of a quiet English manor. She has never seen bustling London or the bright English Channel; she hasn't crossed the Alps of France or watched boats dance in the Venetian sea. She has not sung at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem or prayed at the manger in Bethlehem - or been kidnapped, or abandoned, or kissed, or heartbroken.

But all these things will change. For Gatty has been chosen for a pilgrimage - a journey across Europe to the Holy Land, with a prickly new family of fellow travelers. Nine of them will begin the quest. Not all of them will reach Jerusalem. And Gatty's life will be forever transformed by not just her adventure, its music and miracles, but the glimmering hope of another paradise she discovers along the way.

In this extraordinary novel, Kevin Crossley-Holland reveals a medieval world as rich and compelling as the contemporary world it foresees, and a character at once brave and impulsive, tender and true: the irrepressible Gatty.

Reviews and Awards

Smithsonian 2008 Notable Children's Book
USBBY Outstanding International Book 2009

⋆ "Gatty, the irrepressible peasant girl first introduced in Crossley-Holland's "Arthur" trilogy (Scholastic), comes into her own in this sweeping, vibrant story set in the early years of the 13th century…. Written in a style that is both lyrical and earthy, this book serves as a companion novel to the "Arthur" books but stands solidly on its own as a completely satisfying coming-of-age story. Similar in tone to Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy (Clarion, 1994) and rich in detail like Frances Temple's epic journey tale, The Ramsay Scallop (Scholastic, 1994), Crossing to Paradise gives today's readers a glimpse into the turbulent years of the Crusades-events that sowed so many seeds for the current Middle East conflicts-through the eyes of a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve." - School Library Journal, starred review

⋆ “Crossley-Holland’s story has many levels; it is demanding and, for those who give it time, quite rewarding. . . . As pilgrims say (and they say it to this day): it isn’t the destination, it’s the journey itself. Crossley-Holland and his band of pilgrims, with effervescent Gatty, tell us much about life’s journey.” – KLIATT, starred review

"Vividly told from the humble opening setting to the luminous final scene in which Gatty and Arthur are reunited, this historical novel becomes the capstone of Crossley-Holland’s memorable medieval saga." - Booklist

"With poetic but straightforward language, Crossley-Holland once again masterfully evokes the essence and texture of the medieval world, in that regard subtly recalling The Canterbury Tales. Readers may miss the interplay between the dual narratives of the Arthur trilogy; they are also likely to miss Arthur as much as Gatty does, and the duo’s satisfying reunion is nothing short of magical…. Gatty is a remarkable heroine (every bit as impetuous and exuberant as her literary antecedents Dido Twite and Lyra Belacqua), and her memorable pilgrimage is exceeded only by her transformation from a simple, unlearned peasant girl into a lady of property and substance, now every bit the equal of her cherished Arthur." - Horn Book

⋆ "This classic odyssey, love story and coming-of-age tale is impeccably written, with rich sensory details, memorable characters and a well-orchestrated plot. Certainly, what Gatty learns about the wonders of the world and the possibilities of friendship and even marriage between Christians and Saracens speaks to today’s world as well." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This is an engaging tale packed with all the sights and encounters readers would expect from a medieval road trip, from perilous missteps along a narrow mountain pass, to a robber that specializes in body parts, to gracious Jerusalem hosts who astonish Gatty with their mixed faith (Christian and Muslim) marriage. The plot stands so sturdily on its own that readers unfamiliar with the preceding trilogy may not even suspect they’ve missed a reference until Merlin appears—incongruously, perhaps, for historical fiction fans—in the closing pages. Adventure, topped off with a romantic happily-ever-after, is a reader’s ticket to paradise." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 

Purchase Options
Indiebound  Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 2008
Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 0-545-05866-X
Price: $17.99
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 352
Foreign Rights: Orion Children's Books
Translation Rights: Orion Children's Books
Rights Available? yes

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