The sea, an orphan girl, and two enormous Japanese vases are woven into a story that details the workings of a wealthy family in 1865 Boston and New England.
Hannah, age 15, the orphan, is one of many sent West in the Orphan Trains. Falling ill along the way, she is returned to Boston where her health improves and where she finds employment as a scullery with the Hawley family. Hannah fits comfortably into the structured regimen of her jobs but finds herself up against Lila, one of the three girls in the family.
The Hawley household’s move to the summer house in Maine brings Hannah in close contact with the sea and a growing awareness of her identity and her destiny all of which seem intertwined with the sea and all of which are recognized by a painter who has come into the household to paint the Hawley girls. A sinister feeling rises as Lila and her cat emerge as enemies of the Hannah's truth. There's a chill to this fantasy.
Vivid descriptions bring the reader into the life of the wealthy in 1865. While not historical fiction, this story provides a snapshot of how wealthy families lived in the mid 1800s. 310 pages Ages 10-13
Recommended by : Barbara Fiehn