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A Drowned Maiden's Hair

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,355 Ratings  ·  568 Reviews
Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence. So when the charming Miss Hyacinth chooses her to take home, the girl is pleased but baffled, until she learns of her new role: helping to stage elaborate séances for bereaved patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing the "secret child," she is torn between her need to please and her growing cons ...more
Kindle Edition, 401 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Candlewick (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jubilation Lee
As a child, friends—years and years ago, dear God—I went through a period of time when I was absolutely obsessed with Houdini. I mean… seriously obsessed. Like, writing poems about his childhood obsessed. I won’t go into it too much due to the way it’s wildly embarrassing, but suffice to say that I blame my Houdini Phase for my love of fake psychic mediums.

And guess what?

This entire book?


Um. Spoiler? Spoiler.

Anyway, so in A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A MELODRAMA, we
I enjoyed this book a lot. I read it in one sitting. Our heroine is an orphan named Maud. We meet her singing a battle anthem in the outhouse. She'd been unruly all day and infuriating her teachers. We are introduced right away to the fact that Maud is honest with herself. She admits when she's been bad or frustrating to the teachers. This characteristic sticks with the main character throughout the book.
She's no saint but she's honest to herself and to the reader. When she is dishonest though
At the Barbary Asylum, every child was strictly classified: a girl was pretty or plain, clever or stupid, good or bad. Maud knew quite well that she was plain, clever and bad.

Maud Flynn, growing up in the Barbary Asylum, knows exactly how much she's worth: not much. She's willful and plain, and gets into too much trouble to be ever considered for adoption. So when Hyacinth and Judith Hawthorne waltz into Barbary Asylum looking for a child and insist on leaving with Maud, it's hard to tell who is
Mar 06, 2008 Ealaindraoi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2008
How far would you go, to be loved?

In spite of the name and cover art, this isn’t historical fantasy; it’s really a straight historical fiction with a little mystery thrown in. In fact, it reminded me a bit of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Maud is an orphan, “plain, clever and bad” at the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans, when suddenly to everyone’s surprise 3 elderly sisters adopt her. Maud is determined to leave behind her bad ways and behave like a lady for the three sisters, one of whom she
Mary Catelli
A historical children's book set in the 19th-century with just a bit of stuff not mundane.

It opens on Maud being punished by being locked in the lavatory of the orphanage. She is singing defiantly, and the voice of a strange woman asks after her. She is let out by a Miss Hyacinth Hawthorne, and brought to the office where Miss Judith Hawthorne is waiting: the women she knew were coming to the orphanage to adopt a girl a few years younger than her -- but Hyacinth thinks she's perfect and sweeps o
Lacey Louwagie
The full title of this book is actually "A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama." The subtitle led me to expect that this wouldn't be a very serious read -- that, indeed, it was a book that didn't even take itself seriously.

Despite billing itself rather lightly, this book manages to tackle some big questions about integrity, spirituality, and the need to belong. Laura Amy Schlitz uses a common convention in children's literature: her protagonist, Maud, is an orphan. Although she's unpopular with t
Sep 16, 2007 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not at all what I'd been expecting, and frankly dreading, but rather a charming tale. The main evil character is a bit of a cardboard mock-up, but doesn't spoil the story by being so. Touches on some pretty powerful topics with an evenhandedness that assures one of the fundamental rightness of things.
Jun 13, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little orphan Maud Flynn knows that she is most certainly NOT a good girl and she has been told so by many people. Plus her impertinence and her naughtiness have landed her in constant trouble at the orphanage where she lives. This is why, more than anybody else, Maud is surprised when a charming, rich old lady called Miss Hyacinth and her sisters decide to adopt her out of all the children in the orphanage. Given this opportunity to leave that horrid place and to have a better life, Maud vows t ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jr. High Girls, Fans of kid-lit orphans, adults who like YA fiction
Maud (11)adores Hyacinth Hawthorn--who, along with her sisters, adopts her--so much that she doesn't question when asked to hid in the attic nor does she object to playing a role"family business." Participation may have it's costs.

Brisk, fun, and absorbing. A Gothic novel deserving of the subtitle.

Folks, we've got ourselves a Melodrama and a delightful one at that: A plucky kid-lit orphan, haughty "aunts," a need for Maud to be hidden in the attic, feigned seances, a rich client, and so forth.
Jul 19, 2014 Aumita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. It had many exciting parts and at times I could not stop reading. The book was detailed and I understood every part of it. This book has a wonderful, exciting and heartwarming story. Having some sad and many joyous parts made it a wonderful book. The author used many descriptive words which made me feel like I was in the book and also the author put in many characters with interesting personalities. I loved this book.
Jul 27, 2012 Shannon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Maud, the protagonist of this tale, is an orphan growing up during the early 1900's. All reader's cringe! Then, two sisters seem to save Maud, taking her in as their own. Reader's cheer and feel warm and fuzzy inside! That's when we discover the truth. The sisters adopt Maud to use her as a "ghost" during seances in order to bilk people of their money and give them false hope. Readers feel outrage and become disheartened! Maud must choose. The acceptance of the sisters and a home or doing what s ...more
Rosamund Hodge
It feels weird to read a book about a surly, neglected orphan adopted by fraudulent mediums who only want her because she's small enough to dress up as the ghost of a dead child and call that book "cozy." But "cozy" is honestly how I felt reading this book. Yes, some very sad things happen, but this story hits all the expected beats of a historical middle-grade novel about a surly, neglected orphan, and it hits them in a way that is perhaps a little predictable, but also very satisfying. I enjoy ...more
Linda Hart
Mar 01, 2015 Linda Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a charming melodrama with an orphan, an old manor, spiritualists, maiden aunties ranging from sweetly ineffectual to cloyingly evil, a secret, and a hefty dose of Victorian bathing costumes and brisk sea air. This YA-middle school book manages to tackle some big questions about integrity, spirituality, and the need to belong. Audio version well done.
"Maud was not pretty; her manners were pert and displeasing; even her posture suggested what Miss Clarke called "sauce."

Loved Maud, loved the plot, loved the setting. How can you beat a orphan and turn-of-the-century seances to pull you into a story? Schlitz is a fabulous story teller and this was the perfect read to kick off my summer!
Kristina Jean Lareau
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved Maud's character, the situations, the mystery and the need to be loved. I was pleasantly surprised when I started listening to this story and there was an old manor, a secret, an orphanage and saccharine woman who is the most selfish piece of work I have ever experienced. So good.
Ever try to explain to a ten-year-old what "melodrama" is? I think I succeeded. If she likes it, I'll probably read it too.


She wouldn't read it without a firm thumbs up from me, so I had to read it first. I quite liked it, but she still hasn't read it.

Library copy
Judy Tolley
Jun 28, 2013 Judy Tolley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. Our main character, is an orphan age 11. She is adopted by three sisters who make their living doing fake seances. I love the author's writing and this story just flowed. A fast read and touching.
Lisa the Librarian
This is my "workout" book. I listen to it when I walk. Clearly I haven't been walking enough.

The story of orphan Maud, who is adopted by three sisters with less than noble intentions. I really liked the character development in the story. Frequently, in a situation where three characters (the Hawthorn sisters) are of similar background, goals, and profession it is easy for them to blur together and be difficult to distinguish the difference of the characters. I did not find this to be the case
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 02, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I really loved this book! Maud is an orphan who's pretty convinced that she's never going to be adopted since she is clever, not pretty, and not a good, obedient girl. When Hyacinth, hears Maud singing from her solitary confinement in the outhouse, she chooses to adopt Maud and bring her to Hyacinth's home that she shares with her two sisters.

The story then spirals into what appears to be a happily ever after tale. Maud is given nice clothes and offered as many books as she desires. She ido
Oct 28, 2008 Katrina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls in 4th-6th grade looking for something wholesome.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2009 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, 2009, cybils
Orphan stories have been done a lot, right? Especially orphan stories about girls. We've all read some of them and many of them are considered classics. So what could Laura Amy Schlitz hope to add to the scores of books about orphan girls by writing one herself?
Well, I think I can pretty much guarantee that you've never read an orphan story quite like A Drowned Maiden's Hair.
Maud Flynn knows she is not the most well behaved, prettiest or smartest girl at the Barbary Asylum so even she is surpris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katherine Kelly
So this is one of those recommendation engine fails - Kindle showed it to me as something I would like. I happened to be looking for something easy to read in the car on a trip to Mendocino, read a couple lines of the description (not a typical topic, sounds like there will be a fun plot and potentially crazy characters...I'm in!)

Part way through I get the distinct feeling that it is a children's (or young-adult) book haha, a couple clicks to realize that yes indeed it is.

That said, I'm not co
Feb 16, 2010 Juushika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: status-borrowed
Adopted from an orphanage by the three elderly Hawthorne sisters, Maud believes that all of her dreams have come true. But when the sisters that Maud must remain hidden in the house and reveal that they have a use for her, Maud discovers that she has not quite found the perfect family that she was looking for. A Drowned Maiden's Hair is swift but not simple: the easy prose and mysterious plot draw the reader in, but it's thorny questions of honesty and searches for love that keep him thinking an ...more
Apr 09, 2007 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All Maud wants is to be adopted and to have a real family again. When the elderly Hawthorne sisters take her home, Maud is overjoyed. She has nice clothes, good food, and indoor plumbing. What Maud doesn’t have is any friends—she’s not allowed to go to school or see visitors. Maud is a secret, and when she finds out why, she has some very tough decisions to make about what’s important.

This was a very moving story about the compelling need for love and a home, versus doing what is right. At the s
Apr 17, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who roots for spunky orphans (particularly plain ones!)
Recommended to Jennifer by: Kristen
Maud Flynn, an orphan, is small for her age, plain, not very well-behaved, and smart. Much to her surprise, these qualities make her attractive to Hyacinth Hawthorne, one of two strange and elderly visitors to the Barbary Asylum for Female Orphans. Hyacinth and her sister, Judith, have come to the orphanage to find an eight-year-old girl child, but on Hyacinth's whim, they take 11-year-old Maud instead.

Before she quite knows what has hit her, Maud is spirited away to live with the Hawthornes, wh
All I knew about this book when I bought it was that it was the Kindle Deal of the Day, and whatever tidy summary Amazon saw fit to provide. What a delightful surprise! This book, frankly, is fantastic. The characters are so well-drawn, and while the ending is somewhat predictable, what gets you to that point most definitely is not. But what impressed me the most was how tightly the story was woven ... There was not one word that seemed superfluous. The last book I read was the very opposite of ...more
Jul 10, 2015 Arya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made me laugh, and cry, and scold the characters all at the same time. The characters are all so real, and so human. Wow! What more can I say?
May 28, 2015 Clarisse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai vraiment aimé cette histoire et surtout le personnage principal. Un récit un peu noir mais très émouvant.
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Good... 5 38 Jun 30, 2012 03:09PM  
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Laura Amy Schlitz has spent most of her life as a librarian and professional storyteller. She is currently a librarian at the Park School in Baltimore, where she has worked since 1991. She is a winner of the 2008 John Newbery award for her book Good Masters, Sweet Ladies!

Ms. Schlitz lives in the Loch Hill section of Baltimore County. She is single with no children.

She has also been a playwright,
More about Laura Amy Schlitz...

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“on the morning of the best day of her life, Maude Flynn was locked in the outhouse singing 'the Battle Hymn of the Republic” 11 likes
“Hold your head up! Throw you shoulders back! It's the cheapest way to tell the world you're somebody!” 2 likes
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