Hannah wants to be normal, but she’s not. The sea calls to her, and she can see a delicate tracing of scales on her legs. Billowing waves soothe her, but flat land makes her sick. She knows there’s something wild in her that’s different, wrong–and deeply thrilling.
Only one person seems to know who–or what–Hannah is. He’s a guest in the house where she works as a scullery girl, and his fascinated gaze follows her. She doesn’t understand his terrifying allure, or her longing. But even as the mystery deepens, Hannah is sure of one thing. A sea change is coming.Orphan Hannah Albury, 15, the engagingly demure yet plucky heroine, has always been drawn to the ocean. Hired as scullery maid by the Hawleys, a wealthy Boston family, she embarks on a journey to understand and fulfill her destiny. Hannah is attracted to the family’s mysterious porcelain vases depicting sea creatures and even more so to Mr. Wheeler, an artist hired to paint the three Hawley daughters. He in turn hungers for and recognizes in Hannah what she doesn’t yet grasp. Meanwhile, the Hawleys’ psychotic eldest daughter, Lila, and her demonic cat, Jade, see Hannah as a threat; as she deciphers the secret of her identity, Hannah must ward off their perhaps supernatural attacks. The novel, first in a projected series, at first offers its early-20th-century history lesson in overly painstaking detail, especially the domestic staff hierarchy. Once Lila, Jade and Mr. Wheeler show up, the plot becomes gripping. A good bet for upper middle-grade and early YA readers. (Fantasy. 12 & up)Stricken by a mysterious malady when she is sent westward on an orphan train, 15-year-old Hannah instinctively knows that she can be cured by proximity to the ocean. She returns to Boston and takes a position as a scullery maid in a wealthy household, where a young artist comes to paint a portrait of her employers’ three daughters. A mysterious, rather romantic figure, he seems to see into Hannah’s soul. Slowly, she becomes aware that she is transforming into a daughter of the sea. The first book in a series about sisters separated at birth, this novel has menacing, almost gothic overtones as well as a strong sense of time, place, and class distinctions. Elements within the painting, which sounds similar to John Singer Sargent’s Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, become pivotal points in the setting and the story. Nicely designed, this compelling novel has an attractive jacket illustration showing a rather modern-looking Hannah in her element, the sea.
— Carolyn Phelan, Booklist
Monday, 18 October 2010
Daughters of the Sea - Book Preview