Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Publisher: Candlewick Press
For Ages: 9-14
On the “best day of her life” 11-year old Maud is locked in the outhouse of the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Beguiling Hyacinth Hawthorne hears Maud and adopts her on the spot. Maud so wants to please Hyacinth; she’ll do anything—even be the three Hawthorne sisters’ secret child and learn the family business.
This is one of those rare stories that will appeal to girls, boys, and adults. The melodramatic larger-than-life events and characters are the kind you’d expect to find in a Charles Dickens story. It’s easy to identify with impulsive but good-hearted Maud, the girl who just wants to be loved for who she is. Once the reader makes it through the beginning set up, there are unpredictable twists, sadness, action, danger, and heart-warming moments.
Parent Notes: This is a kind of a ghost tale so there are some scary and sad parts, but as with most ghost stories, that’s what makes it fun.