The Hatmakers – Tamzin Merchant

*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Puffin – Random House UK and NetGalleyThe decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: The first adventure in a spellbinding new magical world.

Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia’s world, Making – crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients – is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain.

When Cordelia’s father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war.

It’s up to Cordelia to find out who, and why . . .

Featuring illustrations by Paola Escobar.

This middle-grade book is a delightful fantasy coming-of-age adventure, featuring magical worldbuilding and an endearing cast of characters.

Cordelia Hatmaker, newly orphaned – or so the grown ups tell her – lives with her extended family and is learning how to make hats. Hatmaking is just one of the ‘Maker’ magical skills and the Hatmaker family is joined by the Bootmakers, the Glovemakers and more. Except that ‘joined’ is not the right word. The Maker guilds are all very, very separate – to the point of outright hostility – which makes it awkward when the kingdom desperately needs their unified talents to avoid an international war.

Alongside her friends, Goose and Sam, Cordelia must solve the mysteries of what really happened to her father, to the king, and to the Maker guilds, and who is trying to prevent them from fulfilling their most important order ever. Unfortunately, she isn’t actually allowed to make hats yet and doesn’t even know what her own magic is either. Oh, and she is surrounded by grown ups who will insist on treating her like some sort of child! But Cordelia is not one to meekly sit back and watch things go wrong… she has ideas and, maybe, magic of her own, after all.

Set in an alternate historical England, this magic-realism fantasy adventure is utterly spellbinding for adults and children alike. The worldbuilding, plot, characters… all are wonderfully introduced and developed, and the reader is swept from sadness to laughter, through action and intrigue, via bravery and hope, to an ending that resolves the immediate issues but leads directly to the possibility of sequels to come. I can’t wait!

‘What is my magic?’ Cordelia asked.
‘Everybody has their own unique magic, littlest Hatmaker,’ Prospero explained, handing her the jar of beans. ‘But it’s up to you to discover what it is. You’ve got to adventure into your own heart and head and belly to find out just what your own special magic is made of.’

– Tamzin Merchant, The Hatmakers

Find more from Tamzin Merchant at her website here, or follow her on Twitter.

The Hatmakers will be released on Amazon on 18th February 2021 – preorder your copy here!


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