Splendors and Glooms

Front Cover
Candlewick Press, 2012 - Juvenile Fiction - 384 pages
54 Reviews

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller — an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud.

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sarah_Beaudette - LibraryThing

I loved the setting and the story's opening. The gruesome puppet master as slave driver to orphaned children in Victorian London was enthralling. The book had a pacing problem (for me) near the middle ... Read full review

Review: Splendors and Glooms

User Review  - M. Lauritano - Goodreads

Just finished this Newberry Honor and I'm beginning to realize that exceptional middle grade novels are more rare than I would have hoped. Laura Amy Schiltz can certainly write. There is nothing ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, illustrated by Robert Byrd; A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama; The Night Fairy, illustrated by Angela Barrett; and other books for children. She lives in Maryland.