Born in Nottinghamshire, England; married Bruce Chandler; children: Simon, Matt, Ben.
Home—Derbyshire, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Has worked as a high school teacher and a special education teacher.
Dark Thread, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1998.
Viking Girl, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2007, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals.
Pauline Chandler started her career as a secondary school teacher in her native England, and later became a teacher for children with special needs. While Chandler has been writing for much of her life—"I've been writing since I was little, sneaking into corners to scribble on odd bits of paper," she admitted on her home page—it was not until a school break in the 1990s that she began to take her talent seriously. In addition to seeing her work published in British magazines, Chandler has also written several novels for young adults, among them Dark Thread Warrior Girl: A Novel of Joan of Arc, and Viking Girl.
In Chandler's debut, Dark Thread, readers are introduced to a young weaver named Kate who blames her-self for her mother's death. She also wrestled with the emotions common to modern-day teens, and it is only after traveling back in time that Kate begins to discover how to weave the "dark thread"— her sadness and grief—into her life and move on into adulthood.
For her second novel, Chandler uses a familiar historical tale as the basis for her story: the epic of Joan of Arc, the young woman who believed that God's voice spoke to her and directed her in the cause of liberating France. Told from the perspective of Joan's fictional cousin, Mariane, who spends much of the novel fighting by Joan's side, Warrior Girl follows Joan's quest to save France from the invading English. Mariane was rendered mute after witnessing her mother's murder at the hands of the occupying English soldiers. Now, as she travels with her cousin, she discovers that her uncle, Sir Gaston, may have been ultimately responsible for the death of her parents. Gaston supports the English king, and he covets a ring Mariane was given by her father. Mariane must choose between fighting to protect herself, and following Joan to fight for the future of their nation. While Mariane travels apart from Joan through much of the novel, Chandler brings the story back to Joan with enough frequency that readers remain interested in both Mariane's personal story and Joan's historic quest.
Reviewing Warrior Girl in the London Guardian, Kevin Crossley-Holland cited Chandler as a "new voice in historical fiction," and wrote that "the healing revelation with which this novel ends is so unexpected and utterly right that it made me gulp." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews found the novel to be "compellingly told with believable dialogue." Noting how different the tale of Joan of Arc is from the experiences of modern teens, Claire Rosser predicted in her Kliatt review that Chandler's novel will "challenge" readers and added that "YAs interested in saints and/or European history will appreciate her careful work." School Library Journal critic Beth L. Meister cited Warrior Girl as "a moving account of two girls' struggles to be true to them-selves."
On her home page, Chandler described part of her writing process. "My best ideas come when I'm daydreaming," she explained. "If I can't think what to write next, I've learned not to panic. I break the block by moving about a bit. I usually make a cup of tea. The ideas come more quickly if I don't chase them."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 15, 2006, Holly Koelling, review of Warrior Girl: A Novel of Joan of Arc, p. 56.
Guardian (London, England), April 2, 2005, KevinCrossley-Holland, review of Warrior Girl, p. 33.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Warrior Girl,p. 82.
Kliatt, January, 2006, Claire Rosser, review of Warrior Girl, p. 6.
Magpies, May, 1999, review of Dark Thread, p. 32.
School Librarian, summer, 2005, Ann Trevenen Jenkin, review of Warrior Girl, p. 99.
School Library Journal, February, 2006, Beth L. Meister, review of Warrior Girl, p. 128.
Times Educational Supplement, February 19, 1999, review of Dark Thread, p. 23.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2006, Elaine M. McGuire, review of Warrior Girl, p. 482.
Harper Collins Web site,http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/ (November 22, 2006), "Pauline Chandler."
Pauline Chandler Home Page,http://www.paulinechandler.com (November 22, 2006).
Society of Authors Web site,http://www.societyofauthors.net/ (November 22, 2006), "Pauline Chandler."