Friday, September 9, 2011

Laura Amy Schlitz's A Drowned Maiden's Hair; A Melodrama

I've been back to work a week and haven't had a chance to blog all week.  I'm tired every  night and have just enough energy to work with Groovy Girl on homework and get something scraped together for dinner.  I did manage to read this entire charming book one night as a lay awake with insomnia, the night before my return to school.  I loved The Night Fairy by Schlitz and pulled this one off my library shelf and dragged it home in my summer library box.  I love how I grab them out at the ninth hour, just as I'm returning to school to read.  I'm happy I got this one finished though-it will be easy to talk students into reading this just creepy enough chapter book.

A Drowned Maiden's Hair;
A Melodrama
Laura Amy Schlitz

While this takes place in 1909 I don't think I would categorize it as historical fiction-it truly is a melodrama! 


Maud Flynn is living at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans and hates it!  She has trouble with authority and dislikes the horrible living conditions.  Lucky for her two nice elderly women come looking to adopt an 8-year-old but pick 11-year-old Maud instead.  At first, Maud is thrilled to be pampered and living in the almost lap of luxury with the three Hawthorne sisters.  There is one catch though and that is she must remain hidden; a secret adopted child, never venturing outside and tiptoeing to her third floor room when visitors come calling.  Eventually her favorite sister, Hyacinth, informs her of the family "business" and why she must remain hidden until they can put her to work as a "dead" child in a seance! 

My thoughts:

This book is a lot of fun.  The premise of the Hawthorne sisters holding seances to convince wealthy clients of their dead relatives desires is definite trickery but when they bring Maud in to play a young girl who drowned it becomes too much to bear.  Maud, as an orphan, craves human love and the idea that the sisters  only have concern for her when she serves their purpose becomes unbearable.  Maud, choosing not to stay completely hidden (her independent streak shines),  meets the grieving mother of the drowned girl, which makes Maud even more contrite as she tries to fight her inner desire for love and the yucky feeling tricking someone brings to her. It's a twisted tale and you will cheer for Maud as she learns to make some difficult decisions on her own.  I had another ending in mind that involved her brother but I was quite happy with how Schlitz chose to finish Maud's tale.

Read another review at Becky's Book Reviews.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

I read this book a couple summers ago for a camp-read-a-lot library event. I had never heard of it and wasn't sure what to expect - really enjoyed it. I am pleased to find someone else who has read and loved it!