It's 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. Read more...
It's 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household--specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room. The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there's more to the story--and that the paintings in the Sewell's gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what's really going on with Rose Sewell?
Inspired by true events described in a fascinating author's note, The Gallery is a 1920s caper told with humor and spunk that readers today will love.
- ISBN-13: 9780525428657
- ISBN-10: 0525428658
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publish Date: June 2016
- Page Count: 336
- Reading Level: Ages 10-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-23
- Reviewer: Staff
This cleverly constructed historical mystery stars 12-year-old Martha O'Doyle, expelled from her Brooklyn parochial school in 1928 for what Sister Ignatius deems cheekiness but others might call curiosity. Martha's Irish immigrant mother gets her a job as a maid at the Fifth Avenue mansion where she keeps house for J. Archer Sewell, a newspaper mogul with a problem straight out of Jane Eyre: a mad wife locked away upstairs (with an art collection that would make curators drool). Fitzgerald (Under the Egg) stuffs the story with period detail: the Herbert Hoover/Al Smith presidential race, Sacco and Vanzetti's execution, and women's suffrage all figure in the plot as Martha, sensing something amiss, tries to decode the messages Mrs. Sewell may be sending through the paintings that hang in the eponymous gallery. At first, the frame device (Martha tells the story in flashback as she celebrates her 100th birthday) seems superfluous, but the neat ending wraps up the mystery in a satisfying way. Offer this to fans of Blue Balliett who like sophisticated adventures. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (June)