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A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama

by Laura Amy Schlitz

Published by Candlewick Press, 2006
389 pages
ISBN: 0-7636-2930-8

Ages 9-12

Podcast featuring this book

Eleven-year-old Maud is perhaps the least likely child to be adopted from the Barbary Asylum for female orphans, particularly on a day when she was locked in an outhouse as a punishment for one of her many transgressions. And the elderly Hawthorne sisters are perhaps the least likely adoptive parents. But Maud is indeed adopted, and is glad to be part of a real family, even though she doesn’t quite understand why the sisters insist on keeping her existence a secret. Maud soon discovers that they are fraudulent spiritualists who plan to use her as a means to trick a despondent, wealthy woman who has just lost her only daughter. Maud is to play the ghost of the dead girl. Young readers will get completely caught up in both the eerily mysterious aspects of this engaging gothic novel and Maud’s moral dilemma. The ending is predictable – at least to adults – but wholly satisfying.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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