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 it becomes clear that she’s needed to help stage elaborate seances for bereaved patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing her role as a “secret child,” she is torn between her need to please and her growing conscience — until a shocking betrayal shows just how heartless her so-called guardians are. Filled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century spiritualism and page-turning suspense, this lively novel features a feisty heroine whom readers will not soon forget.
Were it not for my love of Laura Amy Schlitz’s other novel, Splendors and Glooms, I would not have picked up this book. As I feared, it did not even come close, but I still enjoyed it. I guess this shows Shlitz’s growth as a writer, and if so, I want whatever she’s going to write next now.
My main problems with the story is the dragged out and out and repetitive plot. There were long stretches were nothing of interest occurs and then the interesting scenes aren’t all that unique. And yes, it is a melodrama so expect everything to feel slightly exaggerated. However, I never lost interest in the story and was in fact hooked.
The idea of the “Secret Child” fascinated me. I love reading about seances and spiritualism and A Drowned Maiden’s Hair adds just the right touch of paranormal. You can read the book and take from it what you like – whether you believe in the afterlife or not.
The book deals with some heavy subjects such as loss, abandonment, trust, and the treatment of people who are deaf. The best part of the book was the storytelling. The characterization is very well done and the writing is very atmospheric. You are able to easily visualize the story and connect with Maud’s tale.
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair is a memorable read that younger readers will surely enjoy.
Other books by Laura Amy Schlitz: