The Crystal Palace: The Diary of Lily Hicks, London, 1850-1851 (My Story) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-07-12 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 2 user ratings

" I read this book in P7, and it was the first book I fell in love with. I haven't read it for 4 years though, so I'm not sure what to say... " said.

" My review can be found here " said.

" A little difficult to follow at first for the dialect used. As the character's writing improves, however, this gets better. Quite interesting. " said.

" Really absorbing fictional diary of a maid in the household of Joseph Paxton designer of Crystal Palace. " said.

" I have not picked up a bad my storey novel yet, I love this collection. " said.

"I sadly didn't enjoy this one very much! I ended up skimming through it rather fast - which then led to a bit of confusion about the whole Jack-watch-thing. I tried to go back and figure it all out but no luck. The setting and story were actually pretty interesting, but the writing really bothered me. Lily's a servant and while she can read and write, she's not amazingly literate. So, this being her diary, there were grammatical errors up the wazoo... and I know it gives her an "authentic" voice, but it was also really annoying to have to read! Also maybe not that great a idea considering these books are aimed at like eight-year-olds, who may very well pick up and start using some of her mistakes." said.

"It's 1850, and fourteen-year-old Lily Hicks is a housemaid for a wealthy family in London. Her family once had a more comfortable life, but her father lost the family's home and money, and now Lily must work to help support her mother and siblings. Her life is not so bad, and later she becomes nanny to the family's new baby, and is befriended by their oldest daughter, who is growing up and becoming aware of the great hardships faced by the poor in Victorian England. In her diary Lily describes both her life as a housemaid as well as the wonders of visiting the Great Exhibition, housed in "The Crystal Palace" building designed by her employer.

This was an interesting and enjoyable book from the My Story series. It showed how hard life was for lower-class children in Victorian times, and how sharp the contrast was between the life of the rich and the poor. I'd highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy books in the Dear America or My Story series.
" said.

"The Crystal Palace: The Diary of Lily Hicks, London 1850-1851 by Frances Mary Hendry is a kids’ Scholastic book interesting enough for all ages. This book chronicled the construction of The Crystal Palace for The Great Exhibition in 1851 through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old housemaid. I found it charming and revealing. In this novel, Lily becomes a housemaid in the home of Joseph Paxton, the man who designed The Crystal Palace.

Lily learns the great glass structure was fabricated to present the newest products of the capitalist economy, accompanied by exotic displays, fauna and flora at the world’s fair. As Lily tracks the progress of the magnificent building, she also deals with the social hierarchy of London society and her role and responsibilities as a member of the household staff. We learn about her other reality, her own poor family living in the slums. On the one hand this book gives a glimpse into the opulent world of the well-to-do, and then flips and shows us the restricted and sometimes tragic world of the lower class. Naturally, since it’s geared toward the younger crowd, it’s a quick and easy read. But it’s also surprisingly enjoyable and informative.

Fun Fact: Souvenirs of The Great Exhibition included pictures of Prince Albert and The Crystal Palace. Visitors could buy gloves with maps printed on them so they could wear them and find their way around the exhibition. There were also mugs with pictures, cans of candies, soap boxes, and more. Read other reviews at
" said.

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