Of Flowers and Shadows

Overview


Like the captivating bestseller, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, this exciting new series explores the stories behind the girls featured in some of the world's most dazzling paintings.

The year is 1879. Beautiful and headstrong orphan Aurelia Sandborn has no family to call her own. Fleeing from her sinister guardian, Aurelia finds herself in a Massachusetts village, where the townsfolk seem all too curious about her mysterious background. When Aurelia meets a charming boy named ...

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Overview


Like the captivating bestseller, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, this exciting new series explores the stories behind the girls featured in some of the world's most dazzling paintings.

The year is 1879. Beautiful and headstrong orphan Aurelia Sandborn has no family to call her own. Fleeing from her sinister guardian, Aurelia finds herself in a Massachusetts village, where the townsfolk seem all too curious about her mysterious background. When Aurelia meets a charming boy named Wayland, she would like nto open her heart to him, but feels she cannot. Surprisingly she finds herself confiding the artist Winslow Homer, who is painting her portrait. And Homer himself may hold the key to the very truth about Aurelia's past...and future.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Aurelia Sandborn is a beautiful and headstrong orphan whose willfulness conceals her insecurity. To escape herself and her sister guardian, she flees to a small Massachusetts village. There she befriends a gentle boy named Wayland and an enigmatic artist who calls himself Winslow Homer.
From the Publisher

SLJ Nov.
KIRWAN, Anna. Searching for the Past. 182p. ISBN 0-439-71010-3.
LASKY, Kathryn. Dancing Through Fire. 172p. ISBN 0-439-71009-X.
ea vol: (Portraits Series). Scholastic. 2005. pap. $9.99. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4-6–These series titles create backstories for the young women who posed for great artists. Past immediately draws readers into Aurelia's story. Shipwrecked and orphaned at the age of five, she was raised in Boston by an increasingly senile woman and her predatory nephew. Fleeing to Townsend, MA, she finds work with a kind family. Her mysterious past continues to haunt her, though she quickly becomes involved in the community. When Winslow Homer arrives to visit his family, Aurelia's tangled past becomes unraveled. Keeping the many characters straight may be confusing for some readers, but the scenes of Aurelia posing for the artist are beautifully integrated with the plot. The portrayal of town life is deep, compelling, and gently humorous. Fire introduces the model for Degas's L'Etoile. Sylvie, a young student at the Paris Opera Ballet School, grows up amid the uncertainty of the Franco-Prussian War. When bloody battles rage throughout the city, she is drawn into the real world for the first time in her life. After witnessing the horror, she must decide if she can ever return to the magic of the stage. This typical ballet story becomes an exciting coming-of-age tale. Fans of dance will be engrossed, while others may have difficulty getting past the jargon to find the fine work within.–Christina Stenson-Carey, Albany Public Library, NY

Booklist 11/15/05
\\\\\\\\Kirwan, Anna. Of Flowers and Shadows. 2005. 182p. Scholastic, $9.99 (0-439-71010-3).
Gr. 4–6. This new entry in the Portraits series creates a fictionalized story surrounding the young girl who posed for Winslow Homer's Girl and Laurel in 1879. Aurelia is a shipwrecked orphan and servant girl for a family who lives across the street from the Homers of Townsend, Massachusetts. She catches the eye of painter Winslow Homer and agrees to pose for a portrait. Kirwan's strength lies in her attention to setting and historic details and she paints a fascinating picture of late-nineteenth-century New England preoccupations including romantic poetry, séances, patriotic holidays, and parlor games. Homer is portrayed as taciturn but gentlemanly and a personal enigma. Although the happily-ever-after ending (in which, among other things, Aurelia is reunited with a wealthy and loving family) feels a bit contrived, this is an appealing story that evokes the feel of the painting. –Kay Weisman

Kliatt
Janis Flint-Ferguson (KLIATT Review, November 2005 (Vol. 39, No. 6))
Aurelia Sandborn is the young housemaid for the Sinclair family in Boston. She is an orphan, found after the shipwreck of the Aspiration on the famous reef at Norman’s Woe. When the cook is sent into retirement by Mrs. Sinclair’s lecherous son, Aurelia senses trouble and runs away, becoming the housemaid for the Ellicott family in Townsend, Massachusetts. Through a series of intertwining events, she becomes a model for Winslow Homer’s painting, Girl and Laurel. Through that portrait and through her friends in Townsend, Aurelia is reunited with her family, who have been looking for her since the shipwreck Aurelia’s story is fictional, but it is set in the real history of 1870s Massachusetts and is interwoven with what we know of the life of Massachusetts painter Winslow Homer, his brother Arthur and Arthur’s wife Mattie. The novel is part of the new Portraits series. Each volume intermingles the history of a famous painting (the cover art of each novel), its artist, and the fictional lives of the people represented in the portrait. In this story of family identity and lost loves, we are treated to a creative look at Homer’s Massachusetts. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior

Children's Literature
In 1870, a beautiful little girl is rescued from a shipwreck off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts, where her mother died trying to save her. After being a wealthy woman's protege, Aurelia Sanborn has to run away from the woman's perverted son. She finds employment with a nice couple who have a young son and a daughter close to Aurelia's age. But because she is a servant girl, the young teenager does not make many friends except for one young man a few years her senior. Wayland, an Irish teen, wants to go to Harvard someday to study journalism and meet the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. Aurelia, Wayland, and her employers' son Union are hired to decorate the Winslow's house for a party one day, and they meet Mr. Winslow's brother, Homer, who is an artist. Homer wants to paint Aurelia's picture, so she becomes a model in her spare time. A friend of the artist visits him one day while he is painting Aurelia. This visitor has the power to change both of their lives, though neither of them knows it. The author has used details of Winslow Homer's life to add character to this novel. The book is a mixture of history, romance, and comedy. She portrays a small New England town with accuracy and wit, bringing characters such as Mattie Homer in her bloomers, riding her high-wheeled bicycle. 2005, Scholastic Inc, Ages 9 to 12.
—Debbie West
KLIATT
Aurelia Sandborn is the young housemaid for the Sinclair family in Boston. She is an orphan, found after the shipwreck of the Aspiration on the famous reef at Norman's Woe. When the cook is sent into retirement by Mrs. Sinclair's lecherous son, Aurelia senses trouble and runs away, becoming the housemaid for the Ellicott family in Townsend, Massachusetts. Through a series of intertwining events, she becomes a model for Winslow Homer's painting, Girl and Laurel. Through that portrait and through her friends in Townsend, Aurelia is reunited with her family, who have been looking for her since the shipwreck Aurelia's story is fictional, but it is set in the real history of 1870s Massachusetts and is interwoven with what we know of the life of Massachusetts painter Winslow Homer, his brother Arthur and Arthur's wife Mattie. The novel is part of the new Portraits series. Each volume intermingles the history of a famous painting (the cover art of each novel), its artist, and the fictional lives of the people represented in the portrait. In this story of family identity and lost loves, we are treated to a creative look at Homer's Massachusetts. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Scholastic, 160p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-These series titles create backstories for the young women who posed for great artists. Past immediately draws readers into Aurelia's story. Shipwrecked and orphaned at the age of five, she was raised in Boston by an increasingly senile woman and her predatory nephew. Fleeing to Townsend, MA, she finds work with a kind family. Her mysterious past continues to haunt her, though she quickly becomes involved in the community. When Winslow Homer arrives to visit his family, Aurelia's tangled past becomes unraveled. Keeping the many characters straight may be confusing for some readers, but the scenes of Aurelia posing for the artist are beautifully integrated with the plot. The portrayal of town life is deep, compelling, and gently humorous. Fire introduces the model for Degas's L'Etoile. Sylvie, a young student at the Paris Opera Ballet School, grows up amid the uncertainty of the Franco-Prussian War. When bloody battles rage throughout the city, she is drawn into the real world for the first time in her life. After witnessing the horror, she must decide if she can ever return to the magic of the stage. This typical ballet story becomes an exciting coming-of-age tale. Fans of dance will be engrossed, while others may have difficulty getting past the jargon to find the fine work within.-Christina Stenson-Carey, Albany Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439710107
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Series: Portraits
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 7.48 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author


Anna Kirwan, best-selling author of two titles in The Royal Diaries series, Victoria, May Blossom of Britannia and Lady of Panque, Flower of Bacal, as well as a title in the Portrait series, Of Flowers and Shadows. She is an accomplished poet as well, and her work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including The Alchemist’s Retort and Alphabestiary. “

Anna Kirwan lives in Sunderland, Massachusetts.

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