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A Drowned Maiden's Hair

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,208 ratings  ·  639 reviews
Maud Flynn is known at the orphanage for her impertinence, so when the charming Miss Hyacinth and her sister choose Maud to take home with them, the girl is as baffled as anyone. It seems the sisters need Maud to help stage elaborate séances for bereaved, wealthy patrons. As Maud is drawn deeper into the deception, playing her role as a "secret child," she is torn between ...more
Hardcover, 389 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,208 ratings  ·  639 reviews

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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
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Abigail H. Leskey
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
An Edwardian orphan of Irish ancestry, plus two old ladies who pretend to be mediums and a third who actually did dream about the dead, plus a deaf servant and a very sad lady whose daughter drowned. It's quite well-written, and I think one of the false mediums is a sociopath.

Content: PG
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
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-and-ya
A Drowned Maiden's Hair is a wonderfully fun, fast-paced, pulpy Victorian Sensation novel. Its main character, Maud, is a great portrait of an eleven year old: in some ways old before her time, but still believably a child. She's neither overly sentimentalised, nor unrepentantly bratty.

Laura Amy Schlitz also has a great eye for character, and a gift for a great first line:
On the morning of the best day of her life, Maud Flynn was locked in the outhouse, singing 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Sep 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Linda Hart
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Monica Drake
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really beautiful book that evokes a world in all detail and emotion. There's something so charming, kind and warm, despite being a novel of con artists, frauds and a very sad death at the heart of the narrative. The characters are well and swiftly drawn, and through these characters we see that people aren't what they seem, and love, though hard to come by, is possible to find. The voice of the narrative is by turns humorous, insightful and rich in heartbreak. So good. I have read it because m ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
"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.
Judy Tolley
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kaethe Douglas
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
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
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
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 15, 2009 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
S Kaur
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to S by: My English Teacher
At first when I took this book to read for a school challenge, I can frankly say that I was very reluctant to even touch this book, it just seemed quite uninteresting... However, I strongly advise you to read this book for it is simply fabulous! I won't be a spoiler by saying what this book is about but if you want to spend the evening enchantingly then this book will help you. At first it might be a pain to someone like me, especially if you're forced to read it but somehow after only a few cha ...more
Oct 31, 2011 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
Apr 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa the Librarian
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
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
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent, well-crafted story.

Picking up the book as an adult reader, I found it an enjoyable and quick story. Maud, the 11-year old protagonist, had a realistically childish perspective, but wasn't so precious or precocious that it grated on me. I believed her choices, her decisions and her moral dilemmas. I also found the grown-up women surrounding Maud to be interesting characters, fully realized and three-dimensional. Even the "villain" of the piece could arouse a bit of sympathy in me.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Kelly Holmes
Jan 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, middle-grade
What an eerie little story! I loved it. The main character Maud has just the right amount of spunk—she's no Pippi Longstocking but she can take care of herself. As a lonely orphan, she starts out thinking that any attention is good attention, but she learns along the way that maybe it's not always worth the trade-off. ...more
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Y/A - orphan impersonates ghost of drown girl in a coastal town. [s] 4 20 Aug 07, 2019 12:42PM  
Follicle Rx 1 2 Aug 21, 2017 11:50PM 1 2 Jul 05, 2017 11:33PM  
Good... 4 38 Dec 16, 2011 07:16PM  

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Laura Amy Schlitz is an American author of children's literature. She is a librarian and storyteller at The Park School in Brooklandville, Maryland.

She received the 2008 Newbery Medal for her children's book entitled Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,[1] and the 2013 Newbery Honor for her children's book, Splendors and Glooms.[2] She also won the 2016 Scott O'Dell Award fo

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