I love, love, love this book. In A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, the writing is fantastic, the pace is pitch-perfect, the characters are complex, the storyline is engaging, and there is a plot turn in the latter pages of the book that I did NOT expect! Warming all these elements like a cozy blanket over cool skin is how adeptly Laura Amy Schlitz draws you in to the atmosphere of the turn-of-the-20th-century setting.
Not to be too silly about it, but the storyline could be roughly explained as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets Oliver Twist meets Arsenic and Old Lace. There is a great con taking place at a wealthy seaside resort, a poor, yet spunky orphan (only she’s not a boy – she’s 11 year old Maud Mary Flynn), and spinster sisters who sometimes seem to mean well, but have a funny way of showing it.
For those of you who like to keep score, I cheer the fact that there is NO language, NO violence, and NO sexual content in this book. It’s character-driven, thought-provoking, and unwaveringly clean fun.
I also applaud the sincerity of this book. The characters are not one-trick ponies – you alternately like them or don’t, think they’re clever or cruel. There’s an honest look at each of their strengths and weaknesses, and also the integrity of their motives. In short, I think there’s a lot of heart in these pages, along with a crisp, original story.
Related link: children’s litblogger extraordinaire A Fuse #8 Production wrote a love letter to review of this book in which she boldly stated: “You readers who haven’t perused [this book] yet. You have my deep and abiding pity.” Read the lengthy review HERE.
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