Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Splendors and Glooms

I just love Middle Grade books! Here’s one that I read recently.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

Dawn’s Recommendation: 5 out of 5 Stars

Click for
Overview (taken from Amazon): WINNER OF A 2013 NEWBERY HONOR!
The master puppeteer, Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. 

As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch. Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

Why I liked it: I like books set in Victorian England, but it was the characters and intrigue that drew me in. Sorrow and secrets weave through out the story. You grow to love and feel for Lizzie, Parsefal and Clara. Ms. Schlitz describes the puppets and the running of the puppet show so well that you feel you are watching it in person and perhaps even working the puppet strings

I couldn't put the book down! I don’t want to give any of the story away, but know that you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. Great ending too! Perfectly tied together.

This book was so good, I checked out another one of her books, "A Drowned Maiden’s Hair". I’ll review that one in a couple of weeks.


  1. Sounds like a book with hidden surprises

    1. Aritha, It's a great book. One of my favorites this year. That one and Icefall.


I appreciate your comments! I try to respond to each one.