Terri Lynn's Reviews > Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M.M. Blume
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Mar 23, 12

bookshelves: children, fiction
Read from March 15 to 23, 2012

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 shield to drive her away. Lucy is gone away most of the time, often to glamorous places and lonely Cornelia has no friends.

Things change in a breathtakingly magical way when a famous writer, Virginia Somerset, who is in her 80's moves in the fabulous apartment next door complete with a painter named Patel who is a fine painter and also her butler and a scrappy little French bulldog. It is when Cornelia helps Patel catch the little runaway dog by luring him with food that she meets this amazing household.

Virginia has lived a life few women of her generation was able to live, a life filled with adventures, trouble (of a good kind), and travel. Soon the lonely Cornelia is sitting in this amazing apartment which Virginia has decorated with rooms devoted to different countries she has traveled to and loved (imagine coconut trees growing in a room IN the floor surrounded by marble with a huge plaza fountain full of water and large goldfish)listening to the amazing stories of the adventures of Virginia and her three sisters all over the world.

These stories are Cornelia's doorway to friendship with three girls in her school but Virginia has a deadly secret that will break Cornelia's heart even as it opens it up to others.

This is an amazing book in every way. I have savored it and will return to it over and over in the future only to marvel and to cry again. Don't let the label of "children's book" hold you back. This is a rich story for everyone who loves a good story that makes them think, feel, and live.
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