The White Phoenix


The White Phoenix is a children’s historical novel set in a London bookshop in 1666, the year the Great Fire of London devastated the city. After the sudden death of her father, 13-year-old Lizzie Hopper and her mother take over The White Phoenix – the family bookshop in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. But women aren’t supposed to run businesses, England is at war with France and everywhere there are whispers of impending catastrophe. As rumours of invasion and plague spread, Lizzie battles prejudice, blackmail and mob violence to protect the bookshop she loves. When the Great Fire of London breaks out, Lizzie must rescue more than just the bookshop. Can she save the friend she wasn’t supposed to have?

To Buy

Available from your local independent bookshop, Waterstones, and online retailers.

Kate Randall Illustration


‘Catherine Randall brings the streets of 17th century London vividly to life…A heart-warming and skilfully told tale.’
Ally Sherrick
Author of Black Powder and The Buried Crown
‘Fantastic story, tense and gripping with some wonderful characters…Hard to believe it's Catherine's debut novel - I'm looking forward to reading more from her!’
Barbara Band
School Library, Reading and Literacy Consultant - @bcb567
'Brilliant debut middle grade historical novel perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Barbara Henderson...Lizzie Hopper is a fantastic main character, kind and strong willed with a determination to do the right thing. I can't wait to read more books by Catherine. Highly recommended.'
Susan Brownrigg
Author of Gracie Fairshaw and the Mysterious Guest
'As a fan of children’s historical fiction, this one was right up there with my favourites - reminiscent of Emma Carroll and Nicola Pierce. An expertly crafted story set in 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London. I now miss Lizzie & the White Phoenix Bookshop!'
Eve McDonnell
Author of Elsetime
'I love historical novels and I was expecting this book to be good, but the author, Catherine Randall, surpassed my expectations. On opening the book to the first page you find yourself in London in 1666…

The White Phoenix has a strong cast of characters, from our headstrong protagonist, to the villain of the story, they all come to life and pull us into their tale. I read this fast-paced adventure in one sitting, I just couldn’t put the book down. …I will definitely be adding a copy of The White Phoenix to our school library and encouraging our children to meet Lizzie Hopper and read her story.

'This book transported me to my childhood and it gave me the same feeling I had reading or watching stories like The Railway Children, The Sound of Music, Pollyanna, Heidi, Little Women, and the early scenes in Great Expectations.'
'This is an addictive historical middle grade set between plague and fire…The fears over plague hit really hard given the situation, but I found that really cathartic, to see others tackling it and not letting it stop them…Catherine Randall’s research into 1666 England is so clear in the little details of book binding or fashions. It’s these subtle references that help bring the world to life. Rather than overpowering the story with historical detail, it grounds the story, striking a balance between story and world.

I’m excited to see what Catherine Randall writes next!'

‘I couldn't put this book down! I was reading it in school every day. It wasn't just an amazing book, but it was factual as well and helped me understand what times were like during 1666.’
Charlotte, aged 10
‘The White Phoenix is probably one of my favourite books I have read as it has many twists and turns and likeable characters…I could not put the book down the second I read the first chapter. I would recommend it to anybody ages 9-14. I rate it 5/5 stars and it is the perfect length.’
Tom, aged 10
'Bookshops, London and the Great Fire – what more could you want in your book?! …I really liked the way Randall was able to make the story very relatable, despite being set nearly 400 years ago….While Catholics might not suffer in England in the 21st century, it’s easy to see the same prejudices aimed at other groups. I think The White Phoenix would make a great starting point for a discussion with children in the target age group.'
'I loved this book and devoured it in a couple of hours. The main character, Lizzie, is just fantastic! She exhibits all of the traits you would want your daughter to possess: she is caring, resilient, truthful and determined…The themes of prejudice and sexism are just as relevant today as they were when the book is set…I would definitely recommend this for younger readers and it would be a great book to read alongside studying 17th century history or prejudice.'
'I simply couldn’t put it down – throughout I was engrossed with the drama and the history, constantly empathising with the characters and their struggles…'