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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,797 ratings  ·  362 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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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,797 ratings  ·  362 reviews

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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
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
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 stre
Jan 22, 2009 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.
Arlene Allen
Sep 12, 2012 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
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Stephen who recommended this lovely book! I loved it!
Terri Lynn
Mar 15, 2012 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
May 21, 2008 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Not Sure... Middle-Grade Readers Looking for Feisty Girl Stories?
Withdrawing into a world of words, eleven-year-old Cornelia S. Englehart keeps the hurtful elements of her life - an absent father and a distant mother (both world-famous pianists), an interfering housekeeper/child-minder, classmates whose only interest in her was for the sake of her famous parents - at bay in this debut children's novel from Lesley M.M. Blume. But when seventy-something Virginia Somerset, together with her companion Patel, and her French bulldog Mister Kinyatta, moves into the ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
her mom never notices her and gets used by people at school for her mom to play piano. her mom is a famous piano player but every one bullys her at school. at the end of the story she figures out the happy part about life instead of what she thought it was like.
Laura Krooswyk
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
Aug 07, 2015 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
Mary Sanchez
Jun 21, 2012 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 13, 2011 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" r
Nov 08, 2015 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
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,
May 05, 2008 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!
Mar 14, 2013 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 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!
Rebekah Watkins
Apr 20, 2008 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.............
Aug 24, 2015 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
Apr 25, 2008 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.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been quite a while since I've read a book that was simple. Usually, I like to read complicated plot lines and character arcs. But when my mom plopped this book down on the desk beside me while I was studying for finals and said, "I thought you might want to read this," I ended up picking it up.


I can't think of any.

Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading "Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters" by Lesley M.M. Blume. When I first picked it up I didn't expect much. The cover is kind of basic looking, and at first the writing felt like it might be geared toward an audience a little younger than me (because it probably was). But I'm happy I didn't give up on it. I didn't expect "Cornelia" to be such a special book, but it's got to be one of the funniest and most poignant books I've read all year. I reall ...more
Elza Kinde
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: advanced readers, adult readers, word nerds, grandma's girl
Cornelia S. loves words. The longer and more complicated the better. She uses her vast vocabulary to keep nosy people from bothering her about her famous parents. Her protective mother has kept her away from the prying eyes of the media, but while Lucy is off traveling the world and giving concerts, Cornelia is alone and growing more and more lonesome in their fancy New York City apartment. Until a strange new neighbor moves in next door.

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters is/>Cornelia
Elizabeth Paglia
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, is about a girl named Cornelia Englehart. She is the daughter of two famous pianists. Cornelia is shy and awkward. In the small town of Greenwich Village, Cornelia was lonely her mother was always traveling and her father left when Cornelia was little. The only people around were her servants. One day a woman named Virginia Somerset moved in next door with her servant Patel and her dog Mister Kinyatta. She soon found out that the worl ...more
Cornelia Street Englehart's mother, a world-famous concert pianist, is always traveling, and Cornelia is left with the housekeeper. The 11-year-old has no interest in following in her mother's footsteps; instead, she obsessed with words, often using them to deflect the hurt she feels from situations around her. Then she meets her new neighbor, housekeeper, and very peculiar dog in her New York City apartment complex. A captivating woman named Virginia Somerset, who moves into the stunning and ex ...more
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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.
“Too many people realize at the end of their lives that they've taken for granted those who really love them. ” 82 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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