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Extended Audio Sample Splendors and Glooms, 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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