I stumbled upon this great read quite by accident, I picked it up thinking it would interest Josie age 10- who seems to be between books right now...She hasn't picked it up yet, but I did- and wow, what a cute/fun/sweet book.
This is homeschool family read-aloud-fun, people!
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley Blume is listed for grades 4-6 or 5-7, but I think it would have a wider interest range as a read-aloud.
Cornelia is the 11 year old heroine of this story, mostly left to herself home alone with servants while her famous, pianist mother tours or vacations. Cornelia is a quiet, introverted little girl-and the housekeeper's attempt to compensate for the lack of attention by her mother -by smothering her-pushes Cornelia to resort to using big words as a shield, isolating her even more. Cornelia also struggles mightily with hating how people only show interest in her because of who her mother is. Just as Cornelia is feeling more alone then ever, a new neighbor moves into the apartment next door. Cornelia becomes friends with fascinating Virginia Somerset who begins to share wonderful stories of the four Somerset girls and their daring adventures during the 1930's and 40's. Cornelia begins to change alittle, and to become a little more adventurous due to the impact Virginia and her stories have on her. The ending was sad, Virginia is elderly and dying, but she makes an effort to connect with Cornelia's mother and influence the healing of their relationship. It was a good, fun story, though sad at times too. The ending was satisfying. Virginia herself says in the story,
"Notice I didn't say that story endings should be tidy, Cornelia," she added solemnly. "Very few stories have tidy endings, or entirely happy ones. But a story can have a positive ending without it being wholly happy."
That is exactly the sort of ending this story has.
It was a really fun, witty and satisfying read that just begs to be read aloud, specially the French parts. The next time you go to say "what?", you just might find yourself asking, "comment?", and you will always think of French china and chiens together and have to laugh.
Put it on your next read aloud list, you won't be disappointed.