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


The children began to set up the theatre. The front of the caravan pulled down, covering the wheels, and the sides unfolded like shutters, adding width to the miniature stage. Lizzie Rose unrolled the canvas that hid the puppet workers from the audience. Parsefall set up the puppet rack and hung the puppets on it. Lizzie Rose unpacked the contents of the canvas sack: a set of glass chimes, a tambourine, a tin sheet for making thunder, and a small violin called a kit.

Parsefall eyed the clock on the mantel. There was plenty of time before the show. He would be able to set up perfectly —Parsefall was finicky about setting up — and still have time to steal something. He cast a furtive glance at Lizzie Rose. She had no idea what a skillful thief he was. Grisini wanted her kept in the dark.

The door opened, and a little girl came into the room. She stood aside as a maidservant in a black uniform entered with a tea tray. "Thank you, Agnes," said the girl, and the maidservant set the tray on the table and left the room.

Parsefall stared at the little girl. He didn't bother much about girls — it was well known that they weren't as good as boys — but this was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. She looked like a puppet of the very finest quality. Her eyes shone like blue glass, matching the color of her sash. Her ringlets were as neat as quills of black paper, and her skin was as smooth as wax. And her dress! To Parsefall, who lived in perpetual dinginess, it was blindingly, impossibly white: a frothy confection that showed plump shoulders at one end and embroidered stockings at the other. But though Miss Wintermute was beautiful, she was not graceful.

She held herself stiffly and moved as if by clockwork.

She made a slight, imperious gesture toward the tea tray.

"Good afternoon. How do you do?"

Parsefall jammed his hands in his pockets. Lizzie Rose spoke for them both. "We're very well, miss. Thank you, miss." The little girl clasped her hands behind her back. "I'm very glad to see you. I hoped you might have tea with me." She sounded suddenly shy. "We met in Hyde Park three weeks ago —I don't suppose you remember?" She paused as if she hoped they would answer. "My name is Clara Wintermute."

"I think I remember you," Lizzie Rose said unconvincingly. Lizzie Rose was a poor liar. She didn't get much practice. Parsefall looked impatiently at the tea tray. There were three cups and a dish with a folded napkin in it. He wondered what was inside the napkin. Something buttery, he hoped: crumpets or muffins.

"Do you?" fluttered Clara. "I'm very glad. I admire you both so much — I wanted you to come for my birthday." She gestured toward the table again. "Do sit down. There's hot buttered toast in the dish — and strawberry jam."

"We'd love tea, thank you," Lizzie Rose said happily. "Wouldn't we, Parsefall?"

Parsefall pulled out a chair and slumped into it. The two girls became irritatingly ladylike, murmuring courtesies about sugar and milk. Parsefall rested his elbows on the table and gnawed his toast. He knew better — Lizzie Rose was attempting to teach him table manners — but something about little Miss Wintermute made him want to be rude on a larger scale than usual. He slathered his toast with jam and sucked his fingers.

"This is ever so kind, miss." Lizzie Rose set her teacup in the saucer. "A cup of tea is always a treat, especially on a cold day."

Clara spoke impetuously. "Oh, please —! Won't you call me Clara? I know I seem —" She waved a hand, indicating the ornate room around them. Her cheeks reddened.

Lizzie Rose helped her out. "My name is Elizabeth Rose Fawr. This is my brother, Parsefall."

" 'M'not her bruvver," Parsefall corrected her around a mouthful of toast. "Me last name's Hooke."

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

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    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
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

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.