Friday, May 6, 2016

The Cadence of Gypsies by Barbara Casey : A Review

BOOK TITLE: The Cadence of Gypsies

AUTHOR: Barbara Casey

ISBN/ASIN: 978-0982081280

GENRE: Fiction/ YA/ Mystery, Thriller


FORMAT: Digital / PDF


HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank Laura Fabiani of iRead (Italy) Book Tours for this review copy!


On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. 

In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.


There aren't many titles that would make me go in search of a dictionary. Maybe it was just me who didn't know what 'cadence' meant, or maybe it was the author's genius, I had to search for the meaning before I could begin reading in peace.

When the Cambridge dictionary threw this at me,

cadence /keɪ.d ə n t  s/ noun [ C ] VOICE

1. the regular rise and fall of the voice

I was more than eager to continue reading the book to know what it held. The summary was short, revealing next to nothing, but still engaging enough.

The cover image was not very spectacular and did not hold my attention.


Kud ce vjestica do u svoj rod?
(Where should a gypsy go if not to her kin?)

From this quote on the very first page before the prologue, the book drew me in. A woman's search for her biological parent is bringing her back home - something that is true to all cultures. The book showed an eerie familiarity with me in the way it ended the first chapter - all was as it should be - something in those words rang a bell, and signalled that I was in for some more magic!

On one hand, we have Carolina, a teacher who learnt that she had been adopted as a baby. She learns this life changing secret at 18, and as is sort of a norm in YA novels, she is made aware of this fact by a letter in an indecipherable language. Determined to go in search of her biological parents, Carolina is waiting for a chance. On the other end there are three girls, on the brink of their graduation, having a lot of time and energy in their hands - at least enough to pull pranks on those around them.

Carolina finds a job at a school for gifted children. She watches the acutely intelligent girls' pranks going overboard and decides to take the girls on an adventure, hoping that their superior intelligence and capabilities would help her on her quest to find her biological parents. The story takes us on a beautiful journey from then on, full of secrets, history and folklore, with the twists coming one after another. The book is a page turner, having no real slackening moments. The characters are well developed, many of them etched in my memory for some time to come. The book ended sooner than I would have liked it to, and that is saying something!

I guess I expected a YA story to be targetted at that age group of audience. But The Cadence of Gypsies surprised me, and made me thankful, yet again, that I don't choose books based on their target audience alone. This book will delight young and old readers alike. I liked many things about the story. Be it the young and enthusiastic gifted teenage girls who realise the importance of pulling their gifts together to help their teacher, or the young Carolina and her search for her biological parents, or the resilient aged gypsy woman who does not let the sadness of losing her child to adoption affect her purpose of life but still yearns and aches for her - every character is strong, well developed and touches the reader's heart. And the symbiotic way in which they all help each other somehow makes the book an even more engaging read.

I loved how the book traversed from North Carolina to the sleepy yet happening Italian village and how her description of Gypsies and their folklore seemed so detailed and enticing. I have not read a detailed book on this culture before, and I am glad I started with this book because it somehow made me love the culture - and that is the power of the story, and Ms. Casey's words! Would definitely read more books by her. 


  • Unpredictable twists, some memorable
  • The tone of the book matching the title!
  • The feisty characters. I am forever thankful for the story not having a 'damsel in distress being rescued by a dashing knight' angle!
  • The cover image could have been a bit more interesting
  • There are a few typos and odd phrasing that could have been corrected.

When a book makes you want to read more works of the author and about the culture she has based the book on, you know that book has enthralled you!

RATING: 4.5/5


Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

​Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.


PRICE $4.02 for Kindle, $16.95 for Hardcover


1 comment:

  1. I want to thank you for your wonderful review and enthusiasm for my book, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES. I write because I have such a deep passion for it, but to know that someone likes what I have written makes the effort that much more worthwhile. I wish you and your bloggers my very best.



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