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A Drowned Maiden's Hair [Kindle Edition]

Laura Amy Schlitz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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 she learns of her new role: helping to stage elaborate séances for bereaved patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing the "secret child," she is torn between her need to please and her growing conscience. It takes a shocking betrayal to make clear just how heartless her so-called guardians are. Filled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century spiritualism and page-turning suspense, this novel from Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz features a feisty heroine whom readers will not soon forget.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 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.–Melissa Moore, Union University Library, Jackson, TN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Set in the early twentieth century, this first novel tells the classic foundling story with mounting melodrama and multiple twists and turns. Eleven-year-old Maud is always in trouble in the orphan asylum, so she's delighted when she's adopted by the three elderly Hawthorne sisters. Suddenly she has the luxury of new clothes, running water, and good food. But why do the sisters hide her away? As it turns out, they want her to play the role of a drowned child in mock seances to trick their rich, bereaved clients. But smart, brave Maud rebels, bonds with the sisters' deaf housekeeper, and, eventually, finds a loving family elsewhere. The narrative goes on too long, and the seance secret is revealed too early, but the details and the surprising turnarounds will keep readers hooked. They'll enjoy the situation of the brave young rebel who spies on the powerful adults she depends on. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 776 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0763638129
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EINO12
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,283 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Drowned Maiden's Hair October 10, 2007
A Kid's Review
I was surprised when I read A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz. I read the blurb about it and it didn't sound at all what like something I'd normally enjoy reading. Really the only thing that made me start reading it in the first place was its title, which managed to make me wonder just what it could imply. After I read a few pages in the bookshop I wouldn't take my eyes away from it. It amazed me how well written it was for I have only seen a few well written books that appealed to my age group. The story may seem at first like the average orphan-adopted-by-strange-family plot that you hear everyday but it soon twists into a finely woven tale of ghosts and deceit. Maud Flynn, The main character, is very relatable. She is selfish, stubborn, and very human, which is sometimes hard to find in a story character. You can't help but like her because of this humanity. I would recommend this book to all the people who are sick of cookie-cutter fiction and who like a nice suspenseful plot.
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79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cruel and crawling foam September 30, 2006
Some authors excel at first-sentence fabulousness. Laura Amy Schlitz is no exception. "On the morning of the best day of her life, Maud Flynn was locked in the outhouse, singing, The Battle Hymn of the Republic." So begins what could well be one of the smartest conceits for a book I've read in a very long time. To my mind, the best children's books are the ones that set up mysterious, possibly otherworldly, potential and then slip into reality without losing any of their magic. "The Secret Garden", by Frances Hodgson Burnett might be a good example of this. So too is, "A Drowned Maiden's Hair". Telling a tale that makes use of early 20th century beliefs and cons, the title grabs the reader by the throat on page one and doesn't let go for the entirety of the reading. And the ending? The most satisfying I've read in years. You poor readers who haven't perused it yet. You have my deep and abiding pity.

Someone has adopted Maud Flynn and no one is more amazed than the girl in question. I mean, the day was no different from any other to begin with. Maud was locked in the outhouse for being disruptive (again) and then this beautiful old woman appeared out of the blue and just adopted her! The woman's name is Hyacinth Hawthorne and she and her two sisters have taken Maud into their home for a very specific purpose. It turns out that the Hawthorne sisters are con artists who pose as spiritualists for the rich and unhappy. Want to contact your dear departed wife before you rewed? Call on Hyacinth. At the moment the sisters are desperate for money and they see Maud as their ticket to freedom. An extremely rich woman, one Mrs. Lambert, has offered a huge sum of cash if anyone can successfully contact her dead child. Maud's role? To play that child. She cannot exit the house.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Much Will You Edure For The Sake of Being Loved? April 23, 2007
A Kid's Review
By Hailey Prescott

On the morning of the best day of her life, Maud Flynn was locked in the outhouse singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Maud was a troublemaker and she was used to this kind of punishment. She was an orphan since she was a little girl. Now as an eleven year old, Maud goes on an adventure of love and trust. That morning, Maud was adopted.

The Hawthorn sisters would be Maud's new family: Judith, Victoria and Hyacinth. Maud immediately fell for Hyacinth and wanted Hyacinth to love her back as much as she loved her. But as most books go, nothing goes right. When Maud calls Hyacinth her dearest, Hyacinth just laughs at her, breaking Maud's little heart. Plus, the sisters were just using her for their secret family business, not for love.

This book was amazing, fit for all ages. I would give A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz 4 of 5 stars. It always kept me questioning what would happen next and made me feel as if I were actually there in the book myself. Another book that is similar to A Drowned Maiden's Hair with the amount of suspense is Hidden Talents by David Lubar. I loved that book also. It was a great story.

I was really lucky to find this book; it was full of adventure and mystery. Ultimately it was a remarkably great story. This books shows that everyone should be treated the same, no matter the motive or background. We are all living things, not some old toy that you play with and then throw to the side when you are done.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Harry Potter or The Little Princess.... January 14, 2007
Laura Schlitz's story of Maud, the least well behaved child at the Barbary Female Orphans asylum, reads like a classic Edwardian orphan story. Like Francis Hodgson Burnett's The Little Princess, the story has a moral center in the psychological dilemmas of childhood, which resonate with those of adult life. The telling is limpidly clear, supported by vivid period detail, and utterly absorbing. Like Harry Potter, the most famous orphan hero of the present, Maud has a rich and real life, in which loneliness, loyalty, affection, confusion and despair all vie for a central place. Reading this as an adult, I fell into the story the way I shivered in Sarah Crewe's attic and trembled in the maze that lured Harry out of Hogwarts. A great children's book opens children's eyes about the adult world, while reminding adults of what it feels like to be a child. This is one such and I commend it to anyone who has befriended a lonely orphan--on paper or in life--and been enriched by the experience.
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More About the Author

Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the 2008 Newbery Medal-winning GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! VOICES FROM A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE, illustrated by Robert Byrd, and the 2013 Newbery Honor book SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS. She is also the author of A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR: A MELODRAMA; THE NIGHT FAIRY; THE HERO SCHLIEMAN: THE DREAMER WHO DUG FOR TROY; and THE BEARSKINNER: A STORY OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM, a retelling illustrated by Max Grafe. She lives in Baltimore, where she is a lower school librarian at the Park School.

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