It's the year 1900, the dawn of a new century and a chance for a new beginning for Verna and Carlie, whose mother died two years ago. They are headed to their new home—the grounds of an asylum for the mentally ill. Their father, a doctor, has been hired to treat its patients while the girls are under the strict and watchful eye of their aunt Maude. The towering asylum, the murmuring patients with their tormented pasts, the exquisite locked garden at the center of the grounds—Verna perceives forbidden mystery and enchantment everywhere. Even Aunt Maude's temper will not keep her from striking out on her own exciting adventures.
But is Verna ready to confront all the secrets and emotions that have been locked within—even those of her own heart?
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Gloria Whelan is the bestselling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award, The Locked Garden, Parade of Shadows, and Listening for Lions. She lives in Michigan near Lake St. Clair.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-6–Verna and her sister Carlie are still dealing with the death of their mother and the arrival of her harsh and dour sister, Aunt Maude, when their father accepts a position as a staff doctor at a hospital for the mentally ill. When he brings Eleanor, a young patient recovering from depression, into the home to help with the chores, Aunt Maude sees her as a threat while the girls welcome her with joy. Though Maude and Eleanor's father bring condemnation and pain into Eleanor's life, the children, their father, and the hospital administrator reach out to her with acceptance and love. The story explores the prejudice that shadowed the lives of the mentally ill at the turn of the century as well as what it means to be normal. As Verna stands up for what she thinks is right while trying out questionable means to attain her goals, the author allows readers to experience the development of her maturity and character. At the conclusion of the story, readers see a real girl who has not learned all of life's lessons and has not made all the right choices but is still in the process of learning and growing. A thoroughly enjoyable read. –Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MA
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Book Description Harper Collins 2009-06-01, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780060790943B
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