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Book cover of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama

A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 400
Paperback
ISBN: 9780763638122






Available to Buy

Overview of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama

"People throw the word 'classic' about a lot, but A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR genuinely deserves to become one." — WALL STREET JOURNAL

Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence. So when the charming Miss Hyacinth chooses her to take home, the girl is pleased but baffled, until it becomes clear that she’s needed to help stage elaborate séances for bereaved patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing her role as a "secret child," she is torn between her need to please and her growing conscience —- until a shocking betrayal shows just how heartless her so-called guardians are. Filled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century spiritualism and page-turning suspense, this lively novel features a feisty heroine whom readers will not soon forget.

Synopsis of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama

"People throw the word 'classic' about a lot, but A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR genuinely deserves to become one." — WALL STREET JOURNAL

Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence. So when the charming Miss Hyacinth chooses her to take home, the girl is pleased but baffled, until it becomes clear that she’s needed to help stage elaborate séances for bereaved patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing her role as a "secret child," she is torn between her need to please and her growing conscience —- until a shocking betrayal shows just how heartless her so-called guardians are. Filled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century spiritualism and page-turning suspense, this lively novel features a feisty heroine whom readers will not soon forget.

Children's Literature

Maud Flynn is not the ideal adoption candidate at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans. Miss Kitteridge, the superintendent of the orphanage, considers Maud to be an eleven-year-old troublemaker, yet Hyacinth Hawthorne is set on adopting Maud to live with the three Hawthorne spinsters. Maud is awed by the new clothing, tasty treats, and home, and she is especially drawn by Hyacinth's attention to her. Hyacinth refers to Maud as the Hawthorne sisters' "secret child" and there are mysterious rules to follow. Maud will not be attending school and she is not to be seen nor heard when there are guests in the house. Once the Hawthorne sisters trust Maud, they let her into the family business—holding s ances. Early in the story Maud is mesmerized by her new life, especially with Hyacinth, but as she begins to understand more about the secrets, Maud sees things from a different perspective. The suspenseful drama unfolds with intriguing twists and turns as the reader follows Maud and her life in the Hawthorne household and business.

About the Author, Laura Amy Schlitz

Laura Amy Schlitz, the author of THE HERO SCHLIEMANN: THE DREAMER WHO DUG FOR TROY, has spent most of her life working as a librarian and professional storyteller. She has also written plays for young people that have been performed in professional theaters all over the country. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Reviews of A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama

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Editorials

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung

Maud Flynn is not the ideal adoption candidate at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans. Miss Kitteridge, the superintendent of the orphanage, considers Maud to be an eleven-year-old troublemaker, yet Hyacinth Hawthorne is set on adopting Maud to live with the three Hawthorne spinsters. Maud is awed by the new clothing, tasty treats, and home, and she is especially drawn by Hyacinth's attention to her. Hyacinth refers to Maud as the Hawthorne sisters' "secret child" and there are mysterious rules to follow. Maud will not be attending school and she is not to be seen nor heard when there are guests in the house. Once the Hawthorne sisters trust Maud, they let her into the family business—holding s‚ances. Early in the story Maud is mesmerized by her new life, especially with Hyacinth, but as she begins to understand more about the secrets, Maud sees things from a different perspective. The suspenseful drama unfolds with intriguing twists and turns as the reader follows Maud and her life in the Hawthorne household and business.

VOYA - Heidi Dolamore

Eleven-year-old Maud is an orphan and a troublemaker, and everyone is shocked when an elderly woman named Hyacinth adopts the headstrong girl. After arriving at her new home, Hyacinth and her two sisters explain that Maud must hide upstairs whenever visitors call. Eventually the sisters reveal the reason for their secrecy. Maud will help them fake seances. Maud learns a host of tricks to help the sisters with a lucrative scheme to fool Mrs. Lambert, a wealthy woman whose daughter drowned in the ocean. Convinced of her talent for trickery, the sisters take Maud to a beachside cottage where she must spend her days hiding in the attic until it is time to act the part of the dead girl in a seance. After getting her first glimpse of the ocean, Maud cannot resist sneaking out of the house when the sisters are away. Maud spends many evenings riding the carousel and playing in the sand, catching the attention of Mrs. Lambert and threatening the success of the scam. During the seance, things do not go as planned, and Maud stands to lose everything she only recently gained. The playful narrative style stands in contrast to the otherworldly subject matter and lightens the tone of the novel. Set in the early 1900s, this quirky tale puts the reader inside Maud's head to share in her puzzlement, conflict, and discovery. The strong-willed Maud's actions are at times predictable, but the situations in which she finds herself are continually surprising.

School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up
Roland Smith's adventure novel (Harcourt, 2007) is told in the first person by 14-year-old Peak Marcello, so named by his rock climber parents. Peak writes about his adventure as a school assignment. He loves to climb, but lives in Manhattan with his mom, stepfather, and twin sisters, so he attends climbing camp and climbs skyscrapers. When Peak is arrested for climbing the Woolworth take him to Thailand where has a climbing expedition company. When teenager arrives in Katmandu, he is whisked off to a Tibetan base camp where he soon discovers his father's plan to make him the youngest person to summit Mt. Everest. He is aided by a diverse cast of characters-a monk, a Nepalese boy, Sherpa's, porters, and a TV crew. Listeners are carried along as Peak experiences acclimatization, below freezing temperatures, harrowing crevasses, lack of oxygen, and the deaths of fellow climbers. Ramón de Ocampo creates age, gender, and ethnic appropriate voices for all of the varied characters, augmenting the suspense that is inherent in the story. Although not an essential purchase, it will be a hit with patrons who love adventure.
—Jo-Ann CarhartCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-8-Maud's life at an orphanage has been one of neglect and poverty. When the Hawthorne sisters appear out of nowhere and adopt the 11-year-old troublemaker, she vows to be obedient. Distracted by unfamiliar pleasures such as new clothes, ice cream, and indoor plumbing, she doesn't worry too much about the sisters' insistence that her presence in their home be kept hidden. Well cared for but bored, she finds a way to communicate with Muffet, a deaf serving woman, and the two develop a close relationship. Mysteries abound, and Maud soon discovers the family secret-the Hawthorne sisters make their living by conducting fraudulent s ances and they need Maud to play the part of a girl's ghost to deceive a grieving mother. Wanting to earn her guardians' affections, Maud is drawn further and further into the scheme despite her growing qualms of conscience. Only after a betrayal and a tragedy does she finally find the loving home for which she longs. Filled with heavy atmosphere and suspense, this story re-creates life in early-20th-century New England and showcases the plight of orphans. Maud is a charismatic, three-dimensional character who is torn between doing the right thing and putting her own needs first. While much of the plot is predictable, particularly the ending, the book will find an audience with fans of gothic tales.-Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

In this fast-paced story set in 1909, three seemingly caring elderly sisters adopt feisty, orphaned 11-year-old Maud Flynn. She soon discovers that they're spiritualistic con artists who value their "secret child" only because her shortness and singing talents help them dupe wealthy bereaved clients in ever-more-elaborate shams. Ironically, intelligent and resourceful Maud unwittingly turns out to possess some apparently real powers. Schlitz's well-written narrative depicts the period's craze for spiritualism and captures melodrama at its best with an orphan; shockingly villainous, heartless characters; a happy ending and some supernatural touches. Readers will get caught up in Maud's plight and keep reading to see if she can extricate herself and to learn about the genuinely fascinating details of the fakery. However, melodrama implies certain negatives, such as a predictable, too-good-to-be-true ending and some all-black or all-white characters. Overall, an interesting, brisk read, but it will be up to readers to decide how much of this they buy. (Fiction. 10-14)

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