In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer
Jacky Faber is at it again. Wanted by the British government and once again separated from her beloved Jaimy, Jacky returns to London and the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. She is reunited with her good friends Amy and Ezra and the ever terrible Clarissa Howe, but things are manageable and Jacky is safe. That is until the School plans an outing to the Boston Harbor Islands and the girls are kidnapped, taken as slaves to be sold in Arab slave markets. Jacky is smart and quick and has been in worse scrapes, but with thirty other girls to watch out for, Jacky knows this may be her biggest challenge yet.
If you haven't read the first three books then my only question is, what is wrong with you? Haven't you been reading my reviews? These books are amazing. Or you could just start with this book. I did. I have actually been holding off on this review because this was the first book I read of our Ms. Faber. However, since reading a series out of order appears to be something that only I do, I waited to review the other three first and then re-read the fourth.
Jacky is a star. Yet again, she manages to get into heaps of trouble although this time it isn't her fault, which isn't much of a comfort, but hey, what's a girl to do. With magnetic realism, L.A. Meyer gives us a glimpse into the bowels of slavery and even though this is only a small taste of what many Africans suffered within those ships, it is enough for readers to begin to grasp the severity of the situation. The descriptions of the rattling chains, the unsanitary conditions, rats, sleeping arrangements, dehumanizing, and despair that these girls are witness to brings the events of the time into sharp focus. L.A. Meyer is a clever historian who works in many elements of life aboard a slaver, all the way to Jacky having nightmares of the girls being chained and drowned as would happen if a slaver was afraid they were going to be caught with their cargo.
I have to say, this story is darker than the previous three. In Jacky's previous adventures, there was always room for merriment and joy, but within the Belly of the Bloodhound, that is a luxury. Jacky does come to terms with her arch-nemesis Clarissa Howe and helps some of the girls discover a strength inside themselves that they never knew they had.
A friend of mine (one who I am sure is reading this), bought the first book upon my recommendation. When I asked her if she had read it yet, she informed me that she had to stop reading them because she wasn't getting enough sleep at night. How's that for an endorsement?