Friday, May 15, 2015

A Drowned Maiden's Hair review

A Drowned Maiden's Hair
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press
January 2006

It's the early 1900's and poor Maud Flynn believes it's her lucky day when she's finally rescued from the Barbary Asylum orphanage she's been living at by three spinster ladies. She quickly realizes, however, that the elderly Hawthorne sisters only wish to use her as a confederate in their fake seances to cheat wealthy bereaved patrons. Maud is desperately lonely and sad. Her only real friend is Anna, also known as "Muffet," the deaf kitchen help. 

The aunts are busy prepping Maud for their grandest heist yet, as well-to-do Mrs. Lambert will pay any price in her attempt to communicate with her drowned daughter Caroline. Maud's job is to hide inside a tiny cabinet and provide ghostly sound effects. Desperate for approval from anyone, love-starved Maud reluctantly goes along with the Hawthornes' scheme. The somber mood of the book is heavily influenced by the setting, a crumbling seaside resort. This story provides a fascinating look at spiritualism and charlatan mediums, a huge fad of the era. Luckily, there is a happy ending for Maud when Mrs. Lambert finally rescues her from the orphanage after her "aunts" abandon her in a fire. I highly recommend this riveting read.

Compare to:
Alchemy and Meggy Swann - Karen Cushman
Penny from Heaven - Jennifer L. Holm
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken

I borrowed this book from the library

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