on June 15, 2010
One of the best examples of childhood at the turn of the century. This Dickensian tale of an angry, distrustful and unloved orphan is fascinating. She's a defiant person, aching for love and goes through horrible trials to find it. The villain is cunning, charming and one of the most monstrous I've ever read in juvenile fiction. Playing on young Maud's vulnerability is bad enough, but toying with the feelings of the grief-stricken is truly revolting. Maud isn't a very nice person, nor has much of a moral compass (not her fault), but I love the skillful way she is written and developed. She has to be tough, but doesn't want to be constantly on guard. Through quiet observation and a final betrayal, she is forced to make a decision that eventually forms her character. Truly satisfying read.