Amy’s life began on a cold day in January, 1831. If eight-year-old Aurelia had not slipped out when no one was watching it might have ended that day. The sky was a bright blue, the snow deep and white, and Aurelia made her way into the woods behind the house, swung herself into a tree and dreamed of a time when she could leave Hatville Court and never come back. Then she heard the cry and had to follow it. She had to know what it was. To her amazement, there was a tiny baby, cold, naked, alone. When Aurelia ran into the house and put the baby before the fire, she could not understand why she was in disgrace, for she had helped a living soul. The family explained that all living souls were not equal, and that this baby was particularly worthless. But Aurelia insisted that they keep the baby. And Aurelia always got what she wanted. Thus, Amy grew up in a house full of enemies, loved and cherished only by Aurelia. Tragically, Aurelia dies when she is only 23 and Amy is cast out into the world alone. Aurelia left a bundle of letters with a coded key that gave Amy a bit of a treasure hunt.
This feels like a 19th century novel, full of broadly drawn characters, reminiscent of Dickens. And it is the perfect way to tell this rags to riches story. I enjoyed it very much, loved the historical detail and the bit of mystery. It is suitable for teens.
eGalley review Publication date 6.7.16
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