A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is no bodice ripping in this gothic fantasy. The most you'll find is an unsettling attraction two girls have for a young painter and some passionate kisses. There is also much discussion of the eldest daughter’s madness and the acknowledgement that it might impact her marriage prospects.
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What's the story?
When Hannah leaves the orphanage at the age of 15, her first placement via the Orphan Train to Kansas is a disaster. A physical deterioration strikes that necessitates her return to New England where she becomes a scullery maid. A mysterious and tantalizing portrait painter, an obsession with the sea, and a magical transformation help Hannah become her true self.
Is it any good?
This metaphoric coming-of-age tale reels the reader in with a likeable heroine who is smart, hardworking, self-reliant, self-aware, and yet innocent and naïve. A new twist on fantasy by an adept author provides readers a great introduction to gothic romance. Is the eldest daughter of the household truly mad, or simply spoiled and manipulative? Who is the mysterious young painter who compels in Hannah forbidden desires? These mysteries and the requisite foreboding carry the reader along swimmingly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the societal expectations for young women in the year 1900. How are they vastly different?
Were there positive aspects to being a maid rather than being forced into the role a rich young woman had to play?
How might such a “madness” be treated in today’s world?
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