Shakespeare's Secret

( 104 )

Overview

Starting sixth grade at a new school is never easy, especially when your name is Hero. Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, Hero isn’t at all interested in this literary connection. But when she’s told by an eccentric neighbor that there might be a million dollar diamond hidden in her new house and that it could reveal something about Shakespeare’s true identity, Hero is determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.

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Overview

Starting sixth grade at a new school is never easy, especially when your name is Hero. Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, Hero isn’t at all interested in this literary connection. But when she’s told by an eccentric neighbor that there might be a million dollar diamond hidden in her new house and that it could reveal something about Shakespeare’s true identity, Hero is determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.

Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, misfit sixth-grader Hero becomes interested in exploring this unusual connection because of a valuable diamond supposedly hidden in her new house, an intriguing neighbor, and the unexpected attention of the most popular boy in school.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“I like this book because it involves a girl trying to solve an unfinished case. Even my friends say it's a good read!” Discovery Girls tween reviewer

“(More) evidence-driven than Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, this agreeable history-mystery may have even more appeal to budding sleuths.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

 
“Elise Broach’s debut mystery is a gem. An engrossing mystery that touches several historical elements.”—School Library Journal

“Middle school girls will love the suspense and identify with the characters’ personal decisions, reflecting Shakespeare’s universal themes such as loyalty, the public versus the private self, integrity, true love, and humor’s dark side.”—Voices of Youth Advocates

“Sophisticated readers, particularly fans of Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, will appreciate the true emotions, the rich language, and the revelations of many-layered mysteries that tie the past to the present.”—Booklist

“Terrific hero, terrific book. I loved it.”—Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Picture of Hollis Woods

“The historical references, the highly developed characters, and the intriguing plot make this a page-turning satisfying read.”—Armchair Interviews
 

Children's Literature
Shakespeare's Secret unspools against the backdrop of a middle-school intrigue that rivals anything in an Elizabethan court. Dark and brooding, 11-year-old Hero finds herself the focus of a scandal that sweeps her new school. And like her namesake in "Much Ado About Nothing" (her dad is a Shakespearian scholar), Hero must suffer till her name is cleared—by none other than Danny, a popular eighth grader. The wonderfully complicated plot takes Hero and Danny in search of the lost diamond in an heirloom necklace that once belonged to Anne Boleyn, scorned mother of Elizabeth I. Like Shakespeare, first-time novelist Elise Broach loves playing with identity. An elderly neighbor's secret marriage is exposed, Shakespeare unmasked, a long-lost child revealed to be Danny's mother—and Hero possessed of a greater understanding of her true self. All's well that ends well. 2005, Henry Holt, Ages 8 to 12.
—Mary Quattlebaum
KLIATT - KLIATT Review
To quote a review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2005: Hero Netherfield is entering the sixth grade in a new town and a new school. Her father has just recently taken a job at the Maxwell Library and the family has a new home; Hero just wishes she didn't have to start the whole process of learning to fit in again, especially with a name like Hero. Both sh\e and her 8th-grade sister Beatrice have been named for the women in Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing. Hero meets the older woman who lives next door, Miriam Roth, who shares the story of a missing diamond and a missing daughter with Hero. Quite accidentally, Hero becomes friends with the police chief's son who also knows Mrs. Roth and about the missing diamond. He happens to be the coolest boy in her sister's grade. Together they look at clues--a quote from Dylan Thomas, a picture of a necklace belonging to Anne Boleyn, and the mystery of who wrote the Shakespearean plays. The clues lead them to the lights in Hero's home and a late-night search when no one is around. The diamond is found, and so is the lost daughter of their friend, Mrs. Roth. The mystery is well developed, with historical details about William Shakespeare, Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth I. Age Range: Ages 12 to 15. REVIEWER: Janis Flint-Ferguson (Vol. 42, No. 1)
VOYA
In this well-crafted and engaging literary mystery, twelve-year-old Hero, the new kid in school again, discovers from her elderly neighbor and the police chief's son that a seventeen-carat diamond is hidden in her family's new house. The trio's search, guided by a Dylan Thomas quotation and fueled by Hero's research of the owner's maiden name, leads them to Anne Boleyn, who probably passed the diamond to Elizabeth I, who gave it to her illegitimate son, Edward de Vere, possibly the real Shakespeare. Their journey and discovery reveal that Hero herself, and not her Shakespearean name, is the greatest block to her making new friends. A modern mystery also is solved-the elderly neighbor and police chief's son, both deserted by the same woman, are grandmother and grandson. Filled with coincidences, the plot still works. The clearly explained Much Ado About Nothing connections encourage young readers to explore Shakespeare. The historical references, provided by Hero's Shakespearean scholar father, reinforce one of the book's major themes: Reaction to an event is more important than the event. Middle school girls will love the suspense and identify with the characters' personal decisions, reflecting Shakespeare's universal themes such as loyalty, the public versus the private self, integrity, true love, and humor's dark side. An author's note and time line clarify the historical context. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2005, Henry Holt, 256p.; Chronology., Ages 11 to 14.
—Lucy Schall
KLIATT
Hero Netherfield is entering the sixth grade in a new town and a new school. Her father has just recently taken a job at the Maxwell Library and the family has a new home; Hero just wishes she didn't have to start the whole process of learning to fit in again, especially with a name like Hero. Both she and her 8th-grade sister Beatrice have been named for the women in Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing. (Their father is a Shakespearean scholar and met their mother in a Shakespeare class.) Hero meets the older woman who lives next door, Miriam Roth, who shares the story of a missing diamond and a missing daughter with Hero. Quite accidentally, Nero becomes friends with the police chief's son who also knows Mrs. Roth and about the missing diamond. He happens to be the coolest boy in his sister's grade. Together they look at clues—a quote from Dylan Thomas, a picture of a necklace belonging to Anne Boleyn, and the mystery of who wrote the Shakespearean plays. The clues lead them to the lights in Nero's home and a late-night search when no one is around. The diamond is found, and so is the lost daughter of their friend, Mrs. Roth. The mystery is well developed, with historical details about William Shakespeare, Edward de Vere and Queen Elizabeth I. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2005, Henry Holt, 256p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Hero has always hated her Shakespearean-based name, for, as her new sixth-grade classmates are quick to tell her, it's better suited to a dog than to a girl. Resigned to their constant teasing, she concentrates instead on her newfound friendship with her kindly, if somewhat eccentric, elderly next-door neighbor. Mrs. Roth tells Hero about the missing "Murphy Diamond," a precious jewel that supposedly disappeared from the house where Hero now lives. Mrs. Roth has the necklace that once held the diamond, an heirloom that possibly once belonged to Anne Boleyn, and she is convinced that it is still hidden in the vicinity. She and Hero set out to find what the police could not, and, with help from Danny, a popular yet self-assured eighth grader who befriends them both, they succeed. Only then do the real connections among the three of them come to the surface and change their lives forever. The mystery alone will engage readers, but Broach adds a number of other interesting details to entice her audience. Readers will also find numerous facts about Elizabethan history, theories about Shakespeare's writings, and, perhaps most importantly, a moral but not preachy tale. The main characters are all well developed, and the dialogue is both realistic and well planned. Girls will relate to Hero and the defenses that she uses to protect herself from being hurt by the cruel comments and behaviors of difficult classmates. This is a good choice for recreational reading but also useful as an intro to either the complexities of Shakespeare or the tenets of good mystery writing.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Hero Netherfield knows she's in trouble when, on her first day at her new school in Maryland, a classmate unthinkingly announces that Hero is her dog's name. Despite the inevitable humiliations that ensue, things look up for Hero when she discovers that her family (including her beautiful older sister Beatrice, graphic-designer mom and Shakespeare-obsessed dad) has moved into the "Murphy Diamond House," where a centuries-old, million-dollar diamond might be hidden. Mrs. Roth, the kindly next-door neighbor, plies Hero with cinnamon toast and tantalizing information about said diamond, and they become fast friends with each other . . . and, interestingly, with the cutest, most popular boy in the eighth grade, Danny Cordova. The plot thickens as Mrs. Roth reveals that she is in possession of the Elizabethan necklace that once held the missing Murphy diamond, an artifact that may even help illuminate the much-debated identity of Shakespeare himself. More linear and traditionally evidence-driven than Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer (2004), this agreeable history-mystery may have even more appeal to budding sleuths. (author's note, historical timeline) (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312371326
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 8/21/2007
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 113,597
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.62 (w) x 5.18 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of books for children and young adults, including Desert Crossing and Masterpiece, as well as several picture books. She lived in England from the ages of twelve to fourteen and vividly remembers her first visit to William Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon. At a rare-book store there, she purchased a volume of Shakespeare’s plays that she still keeps on her nightstand. Ms. Broach holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University. She was born in Georgia and lives in the woods of rural Connecticut, walking distance from three farms, a library, a post office and two country stores.

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Read an Excerpt

from CHAPTER ONE

It was the last day of summer. Hero Netherfield stretched across the quilted bedspread in her sister's room, her feet drifting over the edge of the mattress. She wasn't thinking about their new house. She wasn't thinking about school. She wasn't thinking about stepping off the bus tomorrow into a sea of strangers. If she thought about any of those things, she'd get that old, tight, panicky feeling—and what was the point?

So instead, she rested her cheek against the soft cotton and breathed. The air was thick with summer smells: lawn clippings and sun lotion and late-blooming roses. She could hear the distant shouts of a tag game down the street. She closed her eyes and made her mind completely blank, as heavy and blank as the summer day.

It took a lot of concentration. Too much. After a minute, she rolled on her side and said to her sister, "You got the best room."

Beatrice's room in the new house was full of angles and alcoves, like Hero's, but it was bigger, with more windows. Beatrice had hung posters on the sloping ceiling, and they floated colorfully overhead, like the inside flaps of a circus tent.

Her sister sat at the desk with one foot propped on an open drawer. She painted her toenails with quick, smooth strokes. "So?" she said. "It was my turn."

That was true. They took turns choosing bedrooms every time they moved, and Hero had chosen first at the house in New York.

"You have a good room, too," Beatrice said. "You just need to put stuff up on the walls."

"Yeah, I know," Hero sighed. But what? She'd finally opened the moving boxes from her old bedroom yesterday. They were filled with stuffed animals, seashells, crunched wildlife posters, all the things she'd collected since she was five. She wasn't sure she even recognized that person any more. None of it belonged in the room of a sixth-grader. A little wistfully, she'd packed it all up again and shoved the boxes in one of the closets under the eaves. That was the strange lthing about moving so often. It forced you to think about starting over every time, whether you really wanted to or not."

The only things Hero kept out for her new room were her books and a shoebox of antique bottles she'd found at a garage sale, colorful glass vials that once held medicine, hair tonic, maybe perfume. The books she wedged into the dark corner bookcase, stacking a pile of favorites next to her bed. The bottles she arranged in a cluster on the window seat, thinking about all the places they must have been, all the hands that must have held them. She liked the way they caught the sunlight and scattered soft shadows of green and lavender on the floor and walls. But the walls themselves were still completely bare. Hero couldn't think of what to hang on them.

She rolled onto her stomach and covered her face with her hands. "I can't believe school starts tomorrow."

"Me neither." Beatrice fanned her toenails. "But maybe it won't be so bad this time."

"It never is bad for you, Triss."

Sometimes it amazed Hero that she and her sister were actually part of the same family. When she was little, she used to suspect she was adopted, an idea that struck her as both upsetting and exotic—and somehow much easier to believe than the truth. Beatrice was tall and pretty, with wavy reddish hair and an open, sunny face. She always seemed about to smile, if she wasn't already smiling. Hero, on the other hand, was small and dark. She knew that much of the time, without meaning to, she wore a pinched, worried look. At the grocery store or the mall, complete strangers would touch her arm and ask sympathetically , "What's the matter, honey? Don't you feel well?"

At school tomorrow, Hero knew exactly what would happen. After a brief sizing-up, Beatrice would be swept into a throng of would-be friends, girls who'd show her the restrooms, save her a place in the cafeteria, share their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. They'd admire her hair, they'd compliment her nail polish. By the end of tomorrow—even though it was only her first day—Beatrice would fit in. Her plans for the weekend would include half the eighth grade.

For Hero, it would be a different story entirely. She'd still be the new kid months from now. She flinched when she thought of what lay ahead: figuring out the lockers, the right clothing to wear, the acceptable food to pack for lunch. Every school had its own customs and fashions, and if she wanted to blend in, she never had long to find out what they were. Hero frowned, thinking about it. It was such hard work, that constant, draining effort to slip into the crowd unnoticed. "Blending in" was completely different than "fitting in." It was the difference between camouflaging yourself in the forest and actually being one of the trees.

"Oh, come on, Hero," Beatrice said. "Maryland is almost the South. People seem friendlier here." She laughed suddenly. "Besides, last year everything worked out okay. You had Kate and Lindsey."

"Ugh!" Hero made a face. "Kate and Lindsey. That was totally not worth it."

Kate and Lindsey had been her friends in fifth grade. They had identical blond ponytails and high-pitched, unstoppable squeals. Hero had nothing in common with them. It still amazed her that they'd ended up spending so much of the last year together. It was a relationship based purely on need. Kate and Lindsey, struggling not to fail Language Arts, had to find a third person to help with their Greek myths skit. They chose Hero, who ended up writing the whole play while the two of them huddled together and whispered about their one consuming interest, a boy named Jeremy Alexander. They stalked Jeremy throughout the school day, without ever actually talking to him, and then spent hours in endless, inconclusive conversations about whether he knew they even existed. In return for putting up with this, Hero found herself with a lifeline of sorts. She had someone to sit with at lunch, to hang out with at recess, to join for team activities in gym. Of course, if the game ever called for partners, it was understood that the pair would be Kate and Lindsey, and Hero would be on her own.

"They were awfull," Batrice said, still laughing. "Remember how obsessed they were with that boy?"

"Remember? That was my life." Hero raised her voice several octaves. "He looked at me! Did not! Did too! In Social Studies! Sideways or did he turn his whole head? Whole head! No way!"

Beatrice mimicked their ear-splitting scream. "Remember how Dad always used to forget Lindsey's name?" she asked.

Hero smiled. "He called them 'Kate and the other Kate.' How could he forget a regular name like Lindsey?"

fi0

Beatrice shrugged. "It didn't come from Shakespeare."

Hero and Beatrice were both named for characters in the play Much Ado About Nothing, thanks to the English literature class where their parents met in college. Naturally, Beatrice had gotten the familiar name, one that lent itself to bouncy nicknames like Trixie, or Bea, or Triss. Hero's name was inevitably misunderstood, questioned, and laughed at. For several months at the last school, one of her teachers had called her Nero.

Of course, she hadn't told her parents that. Her mother loved Shakespeare, but her father actually lived it. It was his job. For as long as Hero could remember, he'd been reading, studying, and writing about Shakespeare. When she was little, she used to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of his voice floating through the darkness. She would pad through the otherwise sleeping house to find him, usually at the dining room table, hunched over the wings of a book, reading out loud. He would always let her listen for a while before he carried her back to bed. The words didn't make any sense—Hero never understood what was happening—but the language was musical and full of feeling. She liked sitting in the dim room and hearing the rhythm of it.

Her father's years in graduate school and a string of teaching and research jobs had taken them from Illinois to Massachusets to New York, and finally here to Maryland, where he would be working as an archivist at the Maxwell Elizabethan Documents Collection in Washington, D.C. When the whole family had visited the library last week, Hero thought its stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings made it look like a cathedral. It was filled with books and long, shining wood tables. There were glass cases everywhere, with old, curling brown manuscripts in them.

"Dad seems to love that Maxwell place" she said to Beatrice. "And everybody there looks just like him. Sort of rumpled and tweedy."

"Yeah," Beatrice said. "Even the women have beards. It's perfect for him."

It was amazing to think of a place that was perfect for their father. He was so weird, and not just in the way all parents were weird. He used words like "Fie" and "tetchy," and he could quote long passages from Shakespeare by heart. He never did the things that other dads did, like play golf or watch football on TV. He had no idea how to grill a steak. But Beatrice was right: Compared to the rest of the staff at the Maxwell, he seemed normal.

"Do you think that's how it is for everybody?" Hero asked. "Do you think even the weirdest people seem normal if you put them in the right place?

Beatrice thought for a minute. "Are you talking about Dad or yourself?"

Hero grabbed the pillow and hurled it at her, almost knocking over the nail polish.

"Hey!" Beatrice said. "I was just kidding. Relax, school will go fine tomorrow. You worry too much."

Hero shook her head. "No, I don't. When you're me, it's not possible to worry too much."

At that moment, their mother appeared in the doorway. She was holding a large pair of pruning shears, and her cheeks were streaked with sweat. From the expression on her face, they could tell she'd been listening.

"Well," she said to Hero, "I suppose if you worry too much, you'll always be pleasantly surprised."

Copyright © 2005 Elise Broach

This text is from an uncorrected proof

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

from CHAPTER ONE

It was the last day of summer. Hero Netherfield stretched across the quilted bedspread in her sister's room, her feet drifting over the edge of the mattress. She wasn't thinking about their new house. She wasn't thinking about school. She wasn't thinking about stepping off the bus tomorrow into a sea of strangers. If she thought about any of those things, she'd get that old, tight, panicky feeling--and what was the point?

So instead, she rested her cheek against the soft cotton and breathed. The air was thick with summer smells: lawn clippings and sun lotion and late-blooming roses. She could hear the distant shouts of a tag game down the street. She closed her eyes and made her mind completely blank, as heavy and blank as the summer day.

It took a lot of concentration. Too much. After a minute, she rolled on her side and said to her sister, "You got the best room."

Beatrice's room in the new house was full of angles and alcoves, like Hero's, but it was bigger, with more windows. Beatrice had hung posters on the sloping ceiling, and they floated colorfully overhead, like the inside flaps of a circus tent.

Her sister sat at the desk with one foot propped on an open drawer. She painted her toenails with quick, smooth strokes. "So?" she said. "It was my turn."

That was true. They took turns choosing bedrooms every time they moved, and Hero had chosen first at the house in New York.

"You have a good room, too," Beatrice said. "You just need to put stuff up on the walls."

"Yeah, I know," Hero sighed. But what? She'd finally opened the moving boxes from her old bedroom yesterday. They were filled with stuffedanimals, seashells, crunched wildlife posters, all the things she'd collected since she was five. She wasn't sure she even recognized that person any more. None of it belonged in the room of a sixth-grader. A little wistfully, she'd packed it all up again and shoved the boxes in one of the closets under the eaves. That was the strange thing about moving so often. It forced you to think about starting over every time, whether you really wanted to or not."

The only things Hero kept out for her new room were her books and a shoebox of antique bottles she'd found at a garage sale, colorful glass vials that once held medicine, hair tonic, maybe perfume. The books she wedged into the dark corner bookcase, stacking a pile of favorites next to her bed. The bottles she arranged in a cluster on the window seat, thinking about all the places they must have been, all the hands that must have held them. She liked the way they caught the sunlight and scattered soft shadows of green and lavender on the floor and walls. But the walls themselves were still completely bare. Hero couldn't think of what to hang on them.

She rolled onto her stomach and covered her face with her hands. "I can't believe school starts tomorrow."

"Me neither." Beatrice fanned her toenails. "But maybe it won't be so bad this time."

"It never is bad for you, Triss."

Sometimes it amazed Hero that she and her sister were actually part of the same family. When she was little, she used to suspect she was adopted, an idea that struck her as both upsetting and exotic--and somehow much easier to believe than the truth. Beatrice was tall and pretty, with wavy reddish hair and an open, sunny face. She always seemed about to smile, if she wasn't already smiling. Hero, on the other hand, was small and dark. She knew that much of the time, without meaning to, she wore a pinched, worried look. At the grocery store or the mall, complete strangers would touch her arm and ask sympathetically , "What's the matter, honey? Don't you feel well?"

At school tomorrow, Hero knew exactly what would happen. After a brief sizing-up, Beatrice would be swept into a throng of would-be friends, girls who'd show her the restrooms, save her a place in the cafeteria, share their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. They'd admire her hair, they'd compliment her nail polish. By the end of tomorrow--even though it was only her first day--Beatrice would fit in. Her plans for the weekend would include half the eighth grade.

For Hero, it would be a different story entirely. She'd still be the new kid months from now. She flinched when she thought of what lay ahead: figuring out the lockers, the right clothing to wear, the acceptable food to pack for lunch. Every school had its own customs and fashions, and if she wanted to blend in, she never had long to find out what they were. Hero frowned, thinking about it. It was such hard work, that constant, draining effort to slip into the crowd unnoticed. "Blending in" was completely different than "fitting in." It was the difference between camouflaging yourself in the forest and actually being one of the trees.

"Oh, come on, Hero," Beatrice said. "Maryland is almost the South. People seem friendlier here." She laughed suddenly. "Besides, last year everything worked out okay. You had Kate and Lindsey."

"Ugh!" Hero made a face. "Kate and Lindsey. That was totally not worth it."

Kate and Lindsey had been her friends in fifth grade. They had identical blond ponytails and high-pitched, unstoppable squeals. Hero had nothing in common with them. It still amazed her that they'd ended up spending so much of the last year together. It was a relationship based purely on need. Kate and Lindsey, struggling not to fail Language Arts, had to find a third person to help with their Greek myths skit. They chose Hero, who ended up writing the whole play while the two of them huddled together and whispered about their one consuming interest, a boy named Jeremy Alexander. They stalked Jeremy throughout the school day, without ever actually talking to him, and then spent hours in endless, inconclusive conversations about whether he knew they even existed. In return for putting up with this, Hero found herself with a lifeline of sorts. She had someone to sit with at lunch, to hang out with at recess, to join for team activities in gym. Of course, if the game ever called for partners, it was understood that the pair would be Kate and Lindsey, and Hero would be on her own.

"They were awfull," Batrice said, still laughing. "Remember how obsessed they were with that boy?"

"Remember? That was my life." Hero raised her voice several octaves. "He looked at me! Did not! Did too! In Social Studies! Sideways or did he turn his whole head? Whole head! No way!"

Beatrice mimicked their ear-splitting scream. "Remember how Dad always used to forget Lindsey's name?" she asked.

Hero smiled. "He called them 'Kate and the other Kate.' How could he forget a regular name like Lindsey?"

Beatrice shrugged. "It didn't come from Shakespeare."

Hero and Beatrice were both named for characters in the play Much Ado About Nothing, thanks to the English literature class where their parents met in college. Naturally, Beatrice had gotten the familiar name, one that lent itself to bouncy nicknames like Trixie, or Bea, or Triss. Hero's name was inevitably misunderstood, questioned, and laughed at. For several months at the last school, one of her teachers had called her Nero.

Of course, she hadn't told her parents that. Her mother loved Shakespeare, but her father actually lived it. It was his job. For as long as Hero could remember, he'd been reading, studying, and writing about Shakespeare. When she was little, she used to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of his voice floating through the darkness. She would pad through the otherwise sleeping house to find him, usually at the dining room table, hunched over the wings of a book, reading out loud. He would always let her listen for a while before he carried her back to bed. The words didn't make any sense--Hero never understood what was happening--but the language was musical and full of feeling. She liked sitting in the dim room and hearing the rhythm of it.

Her father's years in graduate school and a string of teaching and research jobs had taken them from Illinois to Massachusets to New York, and finally here to Maryland, where he would be working as an archivist at the Maxwell Elizabethan Documents Collection in Washington, D.C. When the whole family had visited the library last week, Hero thought its stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings made it look like a cathedral. It was filled with books and long, shining wood tables. There were glass cases everywhere, with old, curling brown manuscripts in them.

"Dad seems to love that Maxwell place" she said to Beatrice. "And everybody there looks just like him. Sort of rumpled and tweedy."

"Yeah," Beatrice said. "Even the women have beards. It's perfect for him."

It was amazing to think of a place that was perfect for their father. He was so weird, and not just in the way all parents were weird. He used words like "Fie" and "tetchy," and he could quote long passages from Shakespeare by heart. He never did the things that other dads did, like play golf or watch football on TV. He had no idea how to grill a steak. But Beatrice was right: Compared to the rest of the staff at the Maxwell, he seemed normal.

"Do you think that's how it is for everybody?" Hero asked. "Do you think even the weirdest people seem normal if you put them in the right place?

Beatrice thought for a minute. "Are you talking about Dad or yourself?"

Hero grabbed the pillow and hurled it at her, almost knocking over the nail polish.

"Hey!" Beatrice said. "I was just kidding. Relax, school will go fine tomorrow. You worry too much."

Hero shook her head. "No, I don't. When you're me, it's not possible to worry too much."

At that moment, their mother appeared in the doorway. She was holding a large pair of pruning shears, and her cheeks were streaked with sweat. From the expression on her face, they could tell she'd been listening.

"Well," she said to Hero, "I suppose if you worry too much, you'll always be pleasantly surprised."

Copyright © 2005 Elise Broach
This text is from an uncorrected proof
Read More Show Less

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 104 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book

    I really liked this book. The story of hero and her troubles in her new town, making friends, dealing w/ her parents and sister and most of all, uncovering a hidden mystery.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Amazing book

    I recently found this book in my bookshelf and remembered how much i love it. I reread it and found that it was still wonderfully entertaining.
    This novel tells the story of hero, an elevn year old girl who has been the new kid all too may times. Her father is shakespeare obsessed, so hero and her sister beatrice were named for characters in the play much ado about nothing. With a name like hero its hard to make friends, so hero finds herself drawn to an elderly neighbor who tells her about a diamond many people believe is hidden in heros house. With the help of danny cordova, the cutest boy in the eighth grade, hero sets out to search for the lost murphy diamond.
    With strong characters, an interesting plot, and sweet, unpretentious morals, this is the perfect book for middle schoolers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    I read the book for a school project. I found it pointless, bori

    I read the book for a school project. I found it pointless, boring, and a little hard to follow. As a middle school boy I found it very hard to relate to the themes. I do not recommend this book unless you like mysteries that are about a girl solving her own personal problems and a mystery about Shakespeare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    BEST

    Best book ever

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Great read

    This is a really good book. I had to read it for school and I wasn't expecting it to be that good, but it's one of my favorite mysteries now!
    I love all the suspense and mystery in this book. It was really interesting to find out that Shakespeare could be fake. I recommend this for 9-11 year olds.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    LUVED IT

    I luv it, the mystery. And i usually HATE mystery, xept for enola holmes, female detective. One thing it could have, in my opinion is magic. I personally prefer fantasy, but u can think whatever u want.
    Anyway, as a lover of shakespeare, (ive read two, and two on the way!) I was shocked to discover that shakespeare could be a SCAM? Well, i dont care one way or another, whoever wrote it, GREAT JOB. And great job, elise! Fascinating, read it in two days, couldnt put it down, luved it. I wish everything else she wrote wasnt in SPANISH! Still good, though.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Danny Corova

    I ADMIT IT I HAVE A CRUSH ON HIM. ON THE COVER HE LOOKS SO CUTE! I WISH I WAS HERO NETHERFIELD. ALSO HE IS HE CUTEST AND MOST POPULAR KID IN EIGHTH GRADE!!!!

    XOXOXOXOXO- NANCY

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Not that good

    I had to read this book over the summer for the next school year. It got super boring. I hope i'll never have to read it agin.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Hi everyone

    I have not red this book i need people to tell me how it is if your going to talk and in the title put to pinkie master

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    To below

    I HAE READ THIS BOOK TWICE. Its not ib the the ceiling fan its in the porch light where the light never works

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Where the diamond is

    The murphy diamond is in the porch light

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    =D OMG THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!

    Im on ly on page 30 and i already LOVE it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2013

    i really liked this book .

    i really liked this book .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Marissas opinion

    Great beo

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    One of the best mystery novels i've read

    I first read this book when i was in elementary school and when i saw it on the nook store i recognized, bought, and reread it. It was just as great as i remembered. I love the characters Danny and Hero, they are easy to relate to and enjoy. This book also gives some cool theories about the true identity of william shakespeare and made me actually want to learn more about him. Great book for ages 10-15ish

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    READ MY OPINION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I like this book because it involves a girl trying to solve an unfinished case.Even my friends say its a good read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    So good

    Elise broach is such a great author! I love this book (and all of her others).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    Hero is a great protogonist

    I enjoyed the engaging mystery very much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2012

    Love

    Great fourth or fifthgrade read im in eighth and i loved it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Is he really shakespeare??

    I LOVE THE MYSTERY AND I JUST WISH THERE WAS THERE WAS A SEQUEL,, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING! :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 104 Customer Reviews

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