An Acquaintance with Darkness

An Acquaintance with Darkness

4.6 49
by Ann Rinaldi

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Fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush suspects that her uncle is involved in body snatching. Meanwhile, her best friend's family is accused of plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln, and Emily is left unsure of whom she can trust.
Includes a reader's guide.
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Fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush suspects that her uncle is involved in body snatching. Meanwhile, her best friend's family is accused of plotting to kill Abraham Lincoln, and Emily is left unsure of whom she can trust.
Includes a reader's guide.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* "Makes readers feel as if they are living in history."  —Booklist, starred review
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
The ALAN Review - Connie Russell
Left an orphan, fourteen-year-old Emily wants to live with her best friend's family rather than with her uncle Valentine who is a doctor. But events in her friend Annie Surratt's household make that impossible. President Lincoln has just been assassinated, and Annie's mother is a friend of John Wilkes Booth. Moving in with her uncle, Emily wavers between trust and distrust. After all, there is that ugly rumor that her uncle is a body snatcher, using bodies for medical research. As Annie's mother comes closer to being hanged because of her relationship with Booth and as Emily discovers there is truth to the rumor about her uncle, Emily must make some difficult decisions. The readers agonizes with Emily as she copes with her feelings and grows into adulthood all too quickly. As usual, Rinaldi has written a historical novel based on research that keeps the reader spellbound.
VOYA - Carrie Eldridge
The chaos in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War is reflected in this story of fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush. But the chaos and trouble surrounding Emily are nothing compared to her personal problems. Her father has perished in the war, and her mother has just died of a long and debilitating illness. Emily's plans to live with her best friend Annie Surratt are ruined when Annie's mother is arrested and jailed for taking part in the assassination of President Lincoln. Emily has no choice but to move in with her Uncle Valentine, a respected doctor in Washington but a man her mother despised. Emily is immediately suspicious of her uncle when she hears rumors that he is involved in body snatching, stealing dead bodies for local medical schools. In an attempt to shield her from this nasty business, Uncle Valentine keeps the true nature of his research a secret. Confused and feeling betrayed, Emily nearly betrays him to the authorities and learns that right and wrong are sometimes not easily defined. Rinaldi has effectively mingled fact and fiction in this story about the growth of the medical profession after the Civil War. The setting of this easy read is authentically described and skillfully intertwined with the story. For those interested in the history behind the story, an author's note and bibliography are included. Highly recommended. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Heidi Green
It seems to fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush that her whole world has been torn apart. President Lincoln has been assassinated, and her mother has died of consumption. Her friend's family, who was going to take her in, has been accused of aiding John Wilkes Booth. Emily has no choice but to live with her Uncle Valentine, the uncle her mother never seemed to trust. She doesn't know what to make of his off-limits laboratory or his secret meetings. Who is her uncle, really, and what sort of business is he engaged in? Ann Rinaldi deftly weaves together the factual details of Washington, DC in the days following Lincoln's assassination and the fictional story of her orphaned young narrator. The author's note provides information about the historical context of the tale. A bibliography provides information about non-fiction texts dealing with Washington DC, Civil War medicine, and Lincoln's assassination. 1999 (orig.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Great Episodes Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)
520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey. Visit her online at

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