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Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters
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Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,289 Ratings  ·  321 Reviews
Eleven-year-old Cornelia is the daughter of two world-famous pianists—a legacy that should feel fabulous, but instead feels just plain lonely. She surrounds herself with dictionaries and other books to isolate herself from the outside world. But when a glamorous neighbor named Virginia Somerset moves next door with her servant Patel and a mischievous French bulldog named M ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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This story was not at all what I expected. Even once I got into it, I thought I would/should like it very much. A neglected daughter of a famous pianist (who would hate that I just called her that!), Cornelia hides behind large words and dictionaries, wishing her mother would spend time with her instead of jetting off to various parts of the world to give concerts all the time. I appreciate intelligent, quirky young heroines and I hoped Cornelia would be no exception. However, for all her seemin ...more
Jubilation Lee
I read Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters at the same time I was reading The Prey, so I'm not 100% sure if it was actually completely sweet and harmless, or if it was just sweet and harmless in comparison to a book that featured both maniacal government-sanctioned experimentation on twins, and also teenagers being hunted down like gazelle.

It seemed pretty damn sweet and harmless, though.

Summary: Cornelia, who spends most of her life with the nanny while her world-famous
Cornelia is the daughter of a famous pianist, Lucy. And, unfortunately for Cornelia, that's all anyone ever seems to care about. When she's invited over for a new play-date with a possible-new-friend, it's typically because the parent wants to find out what Lucy is like, or somehow befriend Lucy via Cornelia. Add to this the fact that Lucy is always traveling and never takes Cornelia with her, and that when Lucy is home she's often busy with her music, Cornelia decided to seek refuge in long, co ...more
Cornelia Street Englehart is possibly the most lonely girl in the entire area of Greenwich village. Her mother, Lucy, is a famous pianist, and barely spends any time with her. She never knew her father.
Her legacy should feel wonderful, but instead Cornelia is miserable and lonely. Privacy is as rare as diamonds. Making a fortress of difficult words, Cornelia hides behind it often.
One day while running home from school, Cornelia sees something strange. Parked in the middle of the street is a gian
Arlene Allen
Sep 13, 2012 Arlene Allen rated it really liked it
This was a sweet, almost old-fashioned read. Cornelia is a shy bookish type who hides behind big words. Her mother is an international concert pianist, and most of her schoolmates' afterschool invitations are at the behest of their star struck mothers. When the amazing eccentric Virginia Somerset move in next door, she finds a kindred spirit, and her own sense of identity in the relationship.It is not sappy or saccharine, although the ending is a bit predictable. What prevented me from giving th ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Avital rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't get to the good part, but my mom says I'll like it.
Terri Lynn
Mar 23, 2012 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, children
Here is another children's book that has captured my imagination, made me feel so many emotions, and then made me cry bittersweet tears.

Eleven year old Cornelia Englehart is the daughter of two world famous concert pianists though she has never met her dad who left them for another woman before Cornelia was born. Cornelia lives with her mother Lucy and with their French housekeeper who loves the child but is frustrated when the young book lover purposely uses complicated words as an emotional s
Aug 23, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know, I've read a lot of sad books. I've read historical fiction books - which usually ALWAYS make me cry - and books about dying babies and WWII pilots. But sometimes, I don't even shed a tear when I read those books! But with this one? I was bawling like a baby at the end!

It wasn't sad - well, okay, it was a little - but the majority of the book had be laughing out loud! It's just such a beautifully written story that I can't even handle it. :)

I LOVED the main character, Cornelia. She's
Prince William Public Library System
A lonely, eleven year old reading machine named Cornelia immerses herself in books and literature to insulate herself from everything of the outside world. A new neighbor befriends and enlightens Cornelia to a new perspective: the world is an exciting globe of opportunity and possibility and adventure. This absolutely outstanding book is one of my favorites.
-Ella, PWPLS Teen Summer Reader

Click here to find the book at the Prince William County Public Library System.
Nov 08, 2015 Madison rated it it was amazing
"Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters" by Lesley M.M Blume is a story about a little girl who realizes that she doesn't want to follow her parents footsteps. This is a great book that has parts that makes you laugh and feel bad for the character. If you really like books about adventures this is a great book for you.This book has many chapters each of which tells about a different adventure. The author has aimed this book towards girls but I think anyone will love it. I f ...more
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Jun 08, 2008 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Danielle by: My Mom
Shelves: children-s-books
Try saying this title ten times fast :)

I loved this book. It was everything I ever dreamed a proper book worm should be. How they should act, feel, and exist. Cornelia is a rather peculiar child. She has a great capacity for knowledge and knows words that would send you running. In fact, that's one of the main reasons she knows so many words. She thinks that people just don't want to be her friends, so eventually she stops trying to be a friend. She hides herself behind a fortress of books and u
Mary Louise Sanchez
Jun 21, 2012 Mary Louise Sanchez rated it really liked it
Eleven-year-old Cornelia Englehart's parents are world famous concert pianists, but she's never met her father and her mother is always traveling around the world. Poor little rich girl,Cornelia, has so-called friends who want to get to her mother through her. Her real friends are her books, especially her dictionaries that give her complicated words to shield her away from people. Then, an older, famous writer, Virginia Somerset moves into the apartment next door and wants to be friends with Co ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly sweet book. I adored little Cornelia, and the "audacious escapades" Virginia shared were both hilarious and endearing. This story is the perfect sort for reading aloud--Virginia's tales in particular are well-suited to a dramatic read.

I have to say that it read a bit younger than I was looking for, so I had a harder time getting into it than I expected. But once I was fully attached to Cornelia (and those wild Somerset sisters), I no longer noticed the "lower" reading level
Aug 25, 2015 Mari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to re-read this childhood favorite of mine, & I was not disappointed. I loved every chapter of the book
Audacious Society of Literary Critics
I read this book in elementary school, I think the 4th grade. And then I reread it in 7th grade.

Although it's been a while since then, this book is me. I love Cornelia and I love the adventures of the sisters. Morocco was especially memorable and it's because of this book I love to read, I love to travel, and I love to learn. This book is my absolute favorite book in the world and this review doesn't do the stories of the Somerset sisters justice.

I recommend this book to every 10 year old kid,
Karissa Kelly
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters follows the story of an eleven-year-old lonely girl named Cornelia S. Englehart. She lives in New York City under the shadow of her two famous pianist parents, and she doesn't play piano. Instead, she reads. Cornelia struggles to make friends and hates the awkwardness between herself and a new friend, so she hides away in her apartment reading. Then, she meets Virginia Somerset. An older woman with a servant named Patel, and a bulldog ...more
Camille Robak
Feb 25, 2014 Camille Robak rated it it was amazing
The book is odd and different I had never of thought certain things would happen and it was throwing curve balls at me and I thought it was a good book. It takes place in New York City and a little girl name Cornelia was the main character she was the daughter of very wealthy parents because of their many talents. The parents were also traveling a lot so Cornelia was mostly alone and never really wanted to talk to her maids she could only think about her parents. Her parents loved to sing, act, ...more
May 03, 2016 Kathleen rated it liked it
Another good YA.
Cornelia is a precocious 11 year old who loves words, dictionaries, word play and a sometimes uses her expansive vocabulary to perplex/annoy other characters....which leads to her living a somewhat lonely existence. No dad. Mom, a famous world traveling/performing pianist....leaves Cornelia in the care of a nanny-housekeeper. When she meets her new neighbor, 75 year old Virginia, a friendship takes seed and quickly blossoms into the real deal. Virginia loves telling her memoir/s
May 05, 2008 Melinda rated it it was ok
Okay novel about a lonely young girl who befriends the old lady next door who tells her wonderful stories about the escapades of the traveling Somerset sisters. That's about it. The dog on the cover, supposedly owned by the author, is cute, and I did like Cornelia's penchant for words, but the novel itself seemed forced and flat. It will probably be made into an okay film. Look for it at theaters near you!
Apr 10, 2013 Jenna rated it really liked it
Cornelia and the audacious escapades of the somerset sisters is a very interesting book. The stories of the somerset sisters and captivating, intriguing and of course funny. It was sad too. It also showed me how lucky I am to have a mum that makes time for me and is always there. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.
Jun 19, 2009 Karina rated it it was amazing
AMAZING. this is about a girl who's mom is a famous pianist and she doesn't like how people view her as a famous pianist's daughter, not herself. the book is about how she expresses herself to her distant famous mom. this is a must read!
May 14, 2008 Dana rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for a pre-teen girl that loves words. The story is engrossing and is a tear-jerker with a happy ending. I really enjoyed it and have recommended it to random people in the store.
Rebekah Watkins
Apr 30, 2008 Rebekah Watkins rated it it was amazing
this book was so good that i was sad when i finished it cause i didnt want the book to end... and the end of the book was sad and happy...and on the sad part of the end i cried.............
Dec 27, 2014 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sistersmay be a relatively new book, but it belongs on the Classic Children's Literature shelf. Full of warmth, simplicity and humor, Blume creates a beautiful world of compelling characters and a perfect setting to frame them in. There are obvious homages to works such as Charlotte's Web with overtones of Harriet the Spy. H may sound like a well- trodden subject, but Blume perfectly addresses the subjects of true love and friendship, the spir ...more
Kim Harris
Jul 12, 2014 Kim Harris rated it liked it
Cornelia S. Englehart is a very lonely girl. People only seem to want to be around her because her mother is a famous concert pianist. She hides behind huge words to confuse the people nearest her and to be left alone. Everything changes when Virginia Somerset moves next door. Suddenly there is someone who enjoys Cornelia's company and sees her for who she really is. Cornelia and Virginia bond over Virginia's amazing tales about her life and world travels with her three sisters.

The stories were
Alex Grant
Jun 07, 2014 Alex Grant rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book.
It takes the reader to so many places (Greenwich Valley,Paris,India,London and so on)without having to get up from a chair.
This unforgettable book has an unforgettable cast of characters.
Cornelia S. Englehart is the daughter of a famous pianist. She feels lonely because she lives in the shadow of her mother and never knew her father. Her mom's away most of the time on piano concerts,and she doesn't have much/no friends.
Until she meets Virginia,the woman next door to their
Liz Sanders
Apr 22, 2014 Liz Sanders rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable book. A good read for the pre-angst, pre-teen. It was a lovely break from post-apocolyptic, dystopian teen fiction.
Although the story is a little predictable and not as adult oriented as a lot of teen fiction it engaged me to the end. I appreciated the broad use of vocabulary. As each word is used it is defined so a young reader could come away from reading this with a great deal of new knowledge.

I would highly recommend this for a girl who is well in to chapter books
Brenda Thompson
I loved the book and will hopefully be able to book talk it so students will want to read it. Cornelia the main character is lonely. She lives in New York in an apartment while her famous pianist mother travels the world over. One day new neighbors move in and change Cornelia's world. Virginia Somerset tells Cornelia many tales which open the world to Cornelia. Because of Virginia, Cornelia and her mother become closer. Enjoyable read. Might be a hard sell - it will take the right kind of reader ...more
Libby K.
Sep 22, 2009 Libby K. rated it it was amazing
The example of an amazing book! This tale was a wonderful story of heartbreak, adventure, and unexpected everlasting friendship. Cornelia S., an eleven year old who's parents are famous pianists and are hardly ever home to care for their only daughter, is alone almost al the time and as a result, has minor social problems and nothing to entertain herself with except a room full of books, particularly dictionaries. Then, a Miss Virginia Somerset moves in next door and an unexpected friendship bl ...more
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Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters 7 25 Sep 03, 2012 12:38PM  
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What would YOU do? 1 13 Jan 16, 2009 01:44PM  
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Lesley M. M. Blume is an author, columnist and journalist. She did her undergraduate work at WIlliams College and Oxford University, and took her graduate degree in history from Cambridge University.
She now regularly contributes to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal and Departures magazine.
More about Lesley M.M. Blume...

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“Too many people realize at the end of their lives that they've taken for granted those who really love them. ” 78 likes
“Are you watching the boats?" Cornelia guessed. She craned her neck to see if there was any excitement on the river.
Heavens no, I'm spying on people," Virginia responded unrepentantly.
-Cornelia E and Virginia Somerset”
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