Excerpt from Splendors and Glooms by Laura A. Schlitz, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Splendors and Glooms

by Laura A. Schlitz

Splendors and Glooms
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2014, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BJ Nathan Hegedus

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"You know how your mother is, Miss Clara," Agnes said firmly. "It's like that going to Kensal Green. It don't change, and it won't change."

Clara lowered her eyes to the prayer book. For a moment or two, she was silent, apparently reading. Then she raised her head. "Agnes," she said tremulously, "there's something I want you to help me with . Something I want dreadfully."

Agnes exchanged the comb for the brush. "I'm sure I don't know what it could be, miss. I don't suppose Princess Victoria had as many frocks as you have, nor such toys, neither."

Clara's stomach tightened. Once Agnes got started on how lucky she was, she was likely to go on a long time. There wasn't time to waste. She spun around. " Please," she begged, " please —"

Agnes dropped the brush. Clara dove for it and held it out to her.

"What is it?" demanded Agnes.

"I want to give tea to the children," Clara answered.

"Professor Grisini's children. You see, Agnes, that's why I wanted the puppet show so much — because of the children. There's a girl and a boy. The boy works the fantoccini, and the girl can play the flute and the fiddle. She was ever so nice." She caught hold of Agnes's hands. "I want to talk to them — just them — with no one else about; no grown- ups. They're so clever — they must know so many things I don't. Think of it, Agnes. They earn their own living!"

Agnes's mouth twisted. At Clara's age, Agnes had been a scullery maid. She saw no romance in earning a living. "You know that's wrong, miss. Your mother wouldn't like it a bit. And what would your little friends think, having to take tea with common children like those Greaseenies?"

Clara shook her head. "Oh, I don't mean that! Of course it wouldn't do to have them with the other children! But we could have tea before the party, if you'll help. You see, Professor Grisini will be here to set up the stage at two, and the guests won't come till three. I thought perhaps — if the professor was given a hot drink in the kitchen, I could have a tray for the children." She tugged at Agnes's hands. "Please, Agnes! Just toast — and tea —and jam. And then, I've made them both a little parcel to take home — oranges and sweets. Please, Agnes!"

Agnes jerked her hands out of Clara's. "I don't know what you'll take a fancy for next, Miss Clara. Taking tea with dirty foreigners?"

Clara sidestepped the question. "They're not dirty," she pleaded, which wasn't true; the girl had looked clean, but the man and the boy were very dirty. "And they're not foreigners. The professor is, but the girl is as English as I am, and she talks like a lady. Please, Agnes."

"Miss Cameron won't allow it," Agnes said. She expected this argument to clinch the matter — there was no chance that Clara's governess would approve of Clara's mingling with common children — but Clara was ready for her.

" Mamma gave Miss Cameron a half day," she answered. "She's going to visit her sister in Islington and won't be back until three."

Agnes tried another tack. "You know how your father feels about people tracking dirt into the nursery —"

Clara interrupted her. "They needn't come up to the nursery. We could take tea in the drawing room, where they set up the stage. I could watch them set up. Oh, please, Agnes!"

Agnes snorted. "You're stagestruck, that's what you are."

Clara switched tactics. "If you're too busy," she said daringly, "I could carry the tea tray myself. I could put my pinafore over my birthday frock and creep down the back staircase and ask Cook —"

Excerpted from Splendors and Glooms by Laura A Schlitz. Copyright © 2012 by Laura A Schlitz. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Victorian Workhouses

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.