An Acquaintance With Darkness

An Acquaintance With Darkness

4.6 49
by Ann Rinaldi

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Sent to live with her uncle after her own mother's death, Emily realizes that the mother of her friend is one of John Wilkes Booth's accomplices in the assassination of President Lincoln.  See more details below


Sent to live with her uncle after her own mother's death, Emily realizes that the mother of her friend is one of John Wilkes Booth's accomplices in the assassination of President Lincoln.

Editorial Reviews

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.
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).

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Great Episodes Series
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 0.90(h) x 1.50(d)
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.

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An Acquaintance with Darkness 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
hockey22 More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing and I read it in one day! It's about a girl who's parents are dead so she lives with her uncle. He is a doctor and gets dead bodies to examine. By the end of the book her opinion changes about him and she realizes what he does isn't as bad as it sounds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An Acquaintance with Darkness is the best historical fiction book I have read. I really liked the idea of using the assassination of Abraham Lincoln as the plot. As always, Ann Rinaldi has a great hook that makes you want to read on. The book is pretty fast paced and therefore a quick read. There is some romance in the novel but not so much that it overtakes the main plot. I really liked how Ann Rinaldi wove Johnny and Robert together and made comparisons there. I liked how she didn't let Emily's assumptions of Uncle Valentine be revealed as true or not too soon. She kept us on our toes with the deeds that Uncle Valentine did for Emily and Annie and also with Emily's furthering relationship with Robert and the reader's trust in his words used to mislead Emily. Ann Rinaldi's use of vivid details really make the reader feel like they have stepped into a time machine and gone back to the late 1800's and lived in the chaos that became of Washington in the months following the assassination of the president.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I love historical fiction and this book had it all. It follows the Lincoln conspiracy and takes place in the 1860s which is one of my favorite time periods. I learned so much from this book. Ann Rinaldi is a great author who writes a lot of historical fiction. If you love historical fiction then you should definitely read this and all her other books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Alissa Burgo More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot if books by this author. She is a wonderful storyteller, and that is hard to do with historical fiction. I could tell that she did a lot of research in order to complete it. Definately reccomend everyone who loves historical fiction to read as many Ann Rinaldi books as possible... my personal favorite of her books is "The Last Silk Dress"... amazing author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
impaledscarecrow More than 1 year ago
This was my 1st book of Rinaldi's that I read. needless to say, I have many more of hers on my wishlist now! Highly recommend this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing. i didn't really think id be that interested in it when my teacher said we'd have to read it. although she has great taste in books, i didn't think this was going to be that good. it turned out i really loved it and I'm going to buy it. the author does a really great job with the story and with details; i was on the edge of my seat the entire time while reading this. the book is great, is mysterious and is extremely interesting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic. It had a great story, good allusions, and a very good author. I would reccommend it to everyone because it allows one to learn about history but in a good way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved reading and learning about the chaos in Washington after Lincoln's death. I learned so many things about this era that I did not know. The characters are so well developed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Right when I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down. When I found out Emily, the main character, had an ill mother, I knew i had to read more to find out exactly what was going to happen. Even after she (Emily's mother) died, I knew even more interesting things were to come, since it takes place after Lincoln was assinated. While reading this, I learned many new things that the school never seem to teach you. For example, people who were accused of the assasination of Licoln, those who were innocent, and how the people accused were punished before their final sentences. I also learned and felt how everyone felt the time after the assination and a lot of people's beliefs of many political issues then. From beginning to end, the book is full of love, some humor, suspense, and trust. I read this book from cover to cover with tingles going down my spine and trying to figure everything out. I would recommend this to everyone who loves history and wants to learn more about the time after Lincoln died.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have found many books that I have enjoyed reading alone this year and have finished them non-stop, This book was among the many that I read cover to cover in a short period of time. I had some of my best friends telling me to put the book down and that I was reading it to much. There was not a single fault in this book. I adored every bit of it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is pretty good, excusing the first few chapters. I found them boaring and pointless. The rest of the book was fine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An Acquaintance with Darkness was an excellent book. I would give this book a 4.7 stars, only because it's lacking in romance, but if you don't care about that, you will LOVE this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most engaging books I have read in a long time. It is just breath taking what Emily Pigbush and her friend had to go through. Yes, it had a little romance in it but nothing huge. When you're reading this think of how it must feel to watch a family member die right in front of your own eyes. I suggest that you read this book if you like historical fiction or any other book written by Ann Rinaldi. Believe me this is definetely one of Rinaldi's best books.I gurentee you will enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing! I loved the characters. This book contains historical characters as well as fictional ones and so that makes it twice as good as other books. The author really takes you into Emily's world by telling you her thoughts and feelings towards people. The book also contains how she matures throughout the book. I think many young girls would love this story about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This book is awesome!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this isn't the first book i've read by Ann Rinaldi, but so far it's my favorite!!!! i read it nonstop at vacation. all the information i got from it was wonderful and still the story was top-notch!!! I definantly reccomend it to all readers!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book! I would say that it was a GREAT book. I really liked Emily,and Robert. It so great to know that Im learning some sort of history,but its not boring!! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an excellent portrayal of an ordinary teenage girl growing up in the turbulent times of her country. Emily's outlook on these times is dark and convincing. The most interesting parts are when Emily is in her uncle's house and making observations of the odd people who seem to regularly haunt it and her times with Robert, the young medical student of her uncle's who Emily is deciding whether or not to trust. A spectacular story, once I started I could not stop reading.