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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz

A Drowned Maiden's Hair
Maude Flynn is a girl with a lot of gumption. Maude is surviving at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans. Three spinster sisters come to adopt her. This is the very early Twentieth Century in New England, so she is grateful to the sisters for ice cream, running water, and new clothes. She is an honest person and she feels that she has to be obedient at all times. She has trouble figuring out why they wanted to adopt her. They make her stay hidden in the house. She is left alone for hours - sometimes days - without any contacts except books and a deaf servant. Maude adores Muffet, the servant, and figures out how to communicate with her.

The sisters are spiritualistic con artists. They want to use Maude for the seances because she is small and has musical abilities. Hyacinth, Judith, and Victoria are the sisters; it is Hyacinth who is the instigator of the seances. The very rich Mrs. Lambert wants a seance because her daughter drowned and she misses her so much. Maude cooperates with the seances; she would like to help the sisters as well as Mrs. Lambert. However, everything changes when a fire breaks out during a seance. Readers will not want to miss a single detail.

The plot and the ending are predictable. However, it is hard to determine who was helping whom the most. It is refreshing when a child adds an honest, fresh perspective to an adult world. Maude helps just by being herself.

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