Cousins in the Castleby Barbara Brooks Wallace, Richard Williams (Illustrator), Richard Williams (Illustrator)
Plucked out of her comfortable life in Victorian London by her forbidding cousin Charlotte, Amelia sets sail for New York. But no sooner does she land than the orphaned 11-year-old finds herself abandoned and then imprisoned. Deliciously gothic, this Dickensian mystery is full of evil villains and so many plot twists that the pages practically turn themselves.
When motherless Amelia's father is reportedly killed while abroad, she is forced to leave London to sail to America with her forbidding Aunt Charlotte. Upon arriving in New York, Amelia is beset by troubles and seeks help from the only person she knows, Primrose, a child singer she met on the ship. This is good entertainment, with all of melodrama's blandishments: an innocent orphan facing a fate worse than death, dastardly villains, conniving relatives, family fortunesit's all here. So are the weaknesses of the genre: absurd coincidences, too-ample exposition at the climax, terribly tidy conclusions. Those who know what to expect will find this a lightweight but exciting page-turner, a good read for a rainy afternoon, that ultimately satisfies.
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