The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald (4 out of 5)


This book really reminded me of a literary version of the game Clue but set in the Roaring Twenties and with a twelve year protagonist who’s quite a hoot and holler. Martha’s mom is a maid and head of staff at the Sewell mansion, and she harbors no illusions about the cast of nuts that she works for. Our matriarch Rose worries about the paintings in the house; yet she’s been a shut-in for years (that angle reminds me of Grey Gardens). Her husband (I don’t think his name is ever uttered actually. So I’ll call him Mister Man in honor of the Culture Club song) is a newspaper magnate obsessed with growing the business by leaps and bounds and pouring more largesse into his gargantuan ego. The dynamic between this couple? Off the charts into Strangeland. The tabloids are chasing headlines and getting them about the peculiarities of the Sewell and what goes on behind closed doors. So who’s the dirty rat? Alphonse the footman? He seems to know a lot more than he is letting on. Or could it even be Martha’s mom? What reason could there possible be for airing all their dirty laundry in public? Well, come hell or high’s Martha to the rescue! And what a fun rollercoaster ride the reader gets taken on with this voyage to intended discovery. This bunch of reclusive weirdos really give a run for the money throughout the book. Martha is one of the most fun 12 year old characters I have run into in a book in a long time. The book was a ton of fun! It is a sequel, also. I did NOT know this until the children’s buyer informed me, so now I will have to go back and read the 1st as well (for the record, the 1st is called Under the Egg). This book is out from the fine folks at Penguin and slated for release tomorrow, June 14. I hope you will acquaint yourself with the lovely Martha and the merry band of weirdos living in the Sewell mansion. Thank you to the lovely Sheila at Penguin Random House for the advance. I can see why you recommended it.

~ by generationgbooks on June 13, 2016.

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