Cousins in the Castle

Overview

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.

A new friend comes to Amelia's rescue when she finds herself the victim ...

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Overview

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.

A new friend comes to Amelia's rescue when she finds herself the victim of a dastardly villain's fiendish plans.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Amelia Fairwick, 11, is a motherless child of comfortable means living in Victorian London. When her father purportedly dies on a business trip, she must go to America to live with her closest relatives, distant cousins in New York. The journey is Amelia's first introduction to Cousin Charlotte, a cold, strict chaperone who has come to collect her. The shipboard passage is brightened, however, by Amelia's acquaintance with sprightly Primrose, an orphaned singer in the employ of two grasping rogues slated to perform their musical comedy routine in New York. When the ship arrives, Amelia is abandoned on the pier by Charlotte and winds up in the care of Mrs. Dobbins, a kindly woman who offers her shelter in her tiny basement flat. But the next morning, Mrs. Dobbins is gone, and Amelia discovers that she is a prisoner. Suspicions mount that her cousins are after her fortune as Amelia escapes, searches out her pal Primrose (who is revealed to be a boy named Rosie), and eventually arrives at the forbidding mansion of her dastardly relations. Loose ends are neatly tied up in a run of high-rolling Dickensian coincidences: her father reappears, alive and well, and Rosie discovers that Charlotte, who is not so bad after all, is actually his long-lost mother. This gothic mystery is slight, but it will keep young readers guessing.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Ilene Cooper
The plot twists and turns at an alarming rate in this story of dastardly crimes and firm friendships, and that's exactly what makes it so much fun. The tale begins in Victorian London, where recently orphaned Amelia Fairchild must leave her home for America to live with distant cousins. On the ship, Amelia meets Primrose, "the London canary," who turns out to be not the girl with curls she seems but a boy who must pose as a girl for theatrical purposes. "Rosie," as Amelia calls him, is a wonderful friend, who saves Amelia more than once when she is abducted, first by an unknown stranger and later by her own cousin. It's too bad that Wallace had to title this "Cousins in the Castle", because it gives away a major secret of the plot. Not to worry, however, there are so many other mysteries that readers will still have plenty to figure out. Written in a lightly Dickensian style, this peach of a book will make an excellent read-aloud. But be prepared for shouts of, "One more chapter!"
Kirkus Reviews
An orphan is abandoned, robbed, and kidnapped in a Victorian melodrama from Wallace (The Twin in the Tavern, 1993, etc.), a specialist in the genre.

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 fortunes—it'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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788746604
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 3/12/2002

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2003

    Wonderfully suspensful

    This book is awesome. I read it in 6th grade and the thing is I put it off until the night before my book report. But those pages just turn themselves and after I finished I couldn't stop talking about it because it was and still is one of my favorite books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2000

    Great Book!

    I READ THIS BOOK IN FIFTH GRADE AND IT HAS REMAINED MY FAVORITE EVER SINCE.THE WAY THE BOOK HAS A MYSTERY TO IT,AND HOW THE READER THINKS THEY HAVE IT SOLVED,UNTIL THE VERY LAST CHAPTER WHEN THE SOLUTION IS THE OPPISITE OF WHAT YOU THOUGHT.

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