I will readily admit to purchasing Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz just because the cover is completely awesome. I like a good creepy story, and Schlitz did not disappoint.
Published in 2012, Splendors and Glooms is set in the Victorian era. It is the story of Clara, a young girl who seems to have it all: money, good parents, social position, but she lives in a house of perpetual mourning as her four siblings are all dead.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are orphans who work for the master puppeteer, Grisini - a man intent on making his fortune anyway he can.
The four characters meet at Clara's house when they come to present a puppet show for her birthday. Later that night, Clara disappears and things get very strange for all three children. Add in a witch for good measure and anything can and does happen.
I'll admit that I read this book too close to bedtime and it kind of creeped me out. The characters are well fleshed out, and I found myself caring about them. Schlitz's descriptions made me feel like I was inside her story. I could picture everything clearly: sounds, smells, sights, and settings. Because she does such a good job of putting the reader into her story, you may want to pass this one by if you don't like macabre stories. If, however, you like a good spine tingling story, this book is for you.
Yes, that is a Newbery Honor medal on the front cover.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.
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