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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

An Excellent and Fast Read

A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

(a 2008 Newberry Medal winner)

Amazon: 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 séances 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.

Well... I have to say.. this is one of those surprise reads. One wonders how it can be a surprise when I read reviews and such and sent for the book, totally expecting to enjoy it.

The truth is, no matter how many reviews one reads for a book before purchasing it, there's always that small percent of your brain that says there's a chance you WON'T like it as much as someone else did.

Happily this is not the case.

At the end of the title on the book cover there are two little words that are basically ignored. The words are: A Melodrama. "Melodrama" means: a work (as a movie or play) characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization. It was all of that!

The characters, of course, make this book. The story, quite different. It kept me reading and I didn't put the book down for long.

Also, I loved that the dimensions of the book are not large, the type is a good size and it's double spaced. (All this means "fast reading") And it also sports one thing that always makes me read faster than normal.. short chapters! Praise be short chapters! For whatever reason I read way more at each sitting when there are short chapters than when the chapters are long. I find myself always saying, "oh.. only 4-5 pages... ok, one more chapter" But that happens 3 or 4 times in a row AFTER I think I'm done reading .

Ok so .. Amazon gave a really good description of this book. For whatever reasons it hooked me, and kept me. And I totally enjoyed the whole read. Loved the characters and I thought the story line was told excellently. I will be checking to see what else (if anything) Laura Amy Schlitz has written.

I don't want to leave without mentioning the book cover which was made by Tim O'Brien... and an excellent cover it is!


Blogger Cath said...

How interesting does this one sound! Quite an original plot with the heroine taking unwilling part in unethical seances. Never come across that storyline before and am intrigued. I agree that you can never really tell if you will love something... even if the review is by someone whose taste you share. You can just *hope*. Glad this one turned out for you.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Glad you enjoyed this one. I was surprised by it to. I thought I'd like it, but I didn't expect to love it so much. :) But it had me at hello!

12:04 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Cath: yeah it was way more than I expected.. totally enjoyed it!

Becky: ah ha! I couldn't remember who's blog I read the review in! LOL so you're to blame for my spending my money! hahahah.. loved the book !!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

I'm so glad to hear it, this one looked really fascinating. And all one has to do is include the word 'melodrama' and I am sold. I have been a fan since childhood. Love the cover, love your enthusiastic review!

3:49 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Hi Carl: yes, I did enjoy this book! Actually this and Anne of Green Gables were excellent for me just now when I didn't need anything heavy..

The title almost put me off on this book, but I'm more than glad I read it!!

3:52 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

You read more than anyone I know, Pat, and I think it is GREAT! I have had trouble sticking with books---even books I really want o read. BUT, I just got a WONDERFUL Book from AMAZON on Tuesday and it is almost 400 pages and I am more than halfway through! It is really a book you cannot put down. I was writen by Deana's husband...Martib Clark..(She is on my Blogroll...) And it is called Legal Limit!
It is really wonderful! If you have nothing else to read..(just kidding, my dear)...get this book!
It would make a great film, too, I think.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Ladytink_534 said...

Oh wow this sounds like a great story! I haven't read any of the recent Newbery awards yet but I might have to move this up soon.

4:02 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

hi Naomi: Ohhh, I'll check that out !

Ladytink: It was and exceptionally well told story! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book

5:50 AM  
Blogger Rhinoa said...

This sounds like a great book and I have added it to my list. I love the cover too and will see about getting a copy for my birthday in a couple of months.

6:09 AM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Pat...IO finished "THE KWGAL LIMIT"....It really is a great 'read'....I couldn't put it down, and that is saying something since I have had a lot of trouble sticking with any book for quite some time now....Do check it out!

12:35 PM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

This sounds so good!

1:51 PM  

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