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Extended Audio Sample Splendors and Glooms Audiobook, by Laura Amy Schlitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,716 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Amy Schlitz Narrator: Davina Porter Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781470323738
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Few books can be called both delightful and eerie - this novel is one. Utterly transporting.”

    Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me

  • “Schlitz skillfully manages multiple narratives as the story makes its complex way forward, creating scenes of warmth and humor along with those of drama and horror…Filled with heart-pounding and heart-rending moments, this delicious, glorious novel is the work of a master of children’s literature.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Newbery Medalist Schlitz delivers many pleasures—fully dimensional children, period details so ripe one can nearly smell them, and droll humor that leavens a few scenes of true horror. A highly original tale about children caught in a harrowing world of magic and misdeeds.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A brooding Dickensian novel with a touch of fantasy and a glimmer of hope…Vividly portrayed and complex, the characters are well defined individuals whose separate strands of story are colorful and compelling. Schlitz weaves them into an intricate tapestry that is as mysterious and timeless as a fairytale.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The book builds slowly and ends stunningly.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A superb gothic novel…Vivid and strange, this latest work by Ms. Schlitz—a Newbery Medal-winner—is, like a marionette show that the orphans see one night, a spectacle sharp-edged, exquisite, and eerily alive.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books for Children
  • Selected for the Autumn 2012 Indie Next List for Children (Ages 9-12)
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2012 Booklist Editors’ Choice Selection for Youth
  • A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Children's Titles for Ages 8-12

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/13/2014

    " Fun story for children ... Resonates with issues they may feel "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 1/26/2014

    " I really really really really liked this book. Does that make it a 5 star? Almost. The writing is fantastic. The characters are wonderfully developed and the plot is exciting and engrossing. It touches on some deep themes and at times it really tugged at my heart. It made for a great diversion on a long airplane ride and I highly recommend it. It is written for older children, but it is a great read for adults too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Kerns | 1/6/2014

    " A haunting tale that was hard to put down! This is a must read if you like mystery, suspense, and don't mind a little scare. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle Neuwirth | 1/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this plot. It is dark, two orphans who live with a very evil man. However, the way the plot came together was very interesting and between the elements of magic and adventure, I really enjoyed how it all turned out in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Stuhlsatz | 12/17/2013

    " Very dark and creepy and funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carla A | 12/7/2013

    " I really enjoyed this, nice dark Victorian setting, the end verges on sappy but what do you expect from J fiction? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer | 11/25/2013

    " Good book. Great idea but with a slow start. I wonder if kids will get too lost in the beginning to stick through to the fabulous conclusion? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catherine | 11/23/2013

    " Luscious writing, but the plot loses steam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily Ann | 9/5/2013

    " A good level of creepy. I enjoyed it quite a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 9/3/2013

    " I listened to this one. The narrator, Davina Porter, is fabulous! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruth | 8/28/2013

    " Well I love puppets and I enjoy Laura Schlitz' books, so this was a gripping read. It is not for the feint of heart. Great feel for the time and place. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amber | 6/29/2013

    " This book, I believe, is labeled as Junior Fiction. I loved the story, but was surprised at how scary and gory it was. It also had a few significant swear words. I was glad I read it before my daughter and will not have her read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicky | 6/23/2013

    " What a gorgeous book. It was just awarded the Newbery Honor, and it deserves every bit of praise. All the characters are vividly captured, pacing is fabulous, story is fascinating - a mix of realism and magic ground in a tale of sorrow, adventure, and redemption. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 5/20/2013

    " A delightfully creepy Victorian tale! I was very positively surprised by how much I enjoyed Splendors and Glooms--this is an intricate but incredibly readable novel full of twist, turns, dirty London streets, and sinister puppeteers! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deirdre | 3/14/2013

    " Unique story filled with magic, madness, and macabre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne Harlan | 1/23/2013

    " I liked the interaction of the characters. But there was a lot of cruelty for my taste, and the magic that changed the girl into a puppet and back wasn't really believable to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tessyohnka | 1/13/2013

    " I liked it, but just wasn't driven to race right through it. While the premise is intriguing the story is often slow and quite dark. "

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About the Author
Author Laura Amy Schlitz

Laura Amy Schlitz is the Newbery Medal–winning author of several books. She lives in Baltimore, where she is a lower school librarian at the Park School.

About the Narrator

Davina Porter has been enthralling listeners for over twenty-five years with her ability to mine the psychological depths of the characters she reads and bring them convincingly to life. In 2006, she won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Female Narration and in 2004 for Best Inspirational Literature Narration.She has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and has won nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she has appeared on stage at the Vineyard Playhouse and The Square One Theater, among others.