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An Acquaintance with Darkness

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 374 pages
  • Publisher: San Val (March 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417645865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417645862
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.7 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-9. Emily Pigbush, 14, is orphaned the day the Civil War ends. Against her dead mother's wishes, she moves in with her Uncle Valentine, a prominent Washington, DC, doctor. Emily soon learns that her guardian?for all his goodness and talent?is a grave robber, illegally acquiring bodies for dissection. Appalled at this discovery and at the deceptions her uncle's household subjects her to, she runs away. A change of heart brings her home as an active participant in furthering the cause of medicine. Emily's story plays out against Lincoln's assassination and its impact on her best friend, Annie Surratt, whose mother ran the boardinghouse where the conspirators met. The two stories are so unbalanced that each distracts from the other. In the end, Annie's predicament is far more involving and compelling than Emily's, and Annie comes across as the more interesting and realistic of the girls. Emily is selfish, silly, and unbelievably naive in comparison; in addition, her concerns are too neatly and quickly resolved. Also, next to Lincoln's death and the trial of his assassins, Uncle Valentine's body-snatching activities seem overwrought and exaggerated. The story lacks the immediacy and power of Cynthia DeFelice's The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker (Farrar, 1996). Rinaldi's characters tend toward stereotypes, and she has serious problems with chronology. An Acquaintance with Darkness is mildly entertaining, but fails to connect with its audience in a meaningful way.?Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Rinaldi has woven two interesting plots here into a fine coming-of-age historical novel....Makes readers feel as if they are living in history.—Booklist

Fast-paced and dramatic, with a wealth of interesting background information....Impressive.—Publishers Weekly

Deliciously macabre.—The Bulletin
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the aftermath of the Civil War, in Washington, D.C. in 1865, fourteen-year-old Emily Pigbush has been forced to not attend school, because of her once-Southern belle mother's failing health. Emily's father, who read to her the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales, and lovingly nicknamed her "Miss Muffet," was tragically killed during the war. And now, Ella May, the Pigbushes' final slave woman, has left in search of the freedom granted by President Lincoln. Thus, Emily is left all alone to take care of her sick, delirious mother.

When Emily's mother has finally died, she is faced with three decisions, crucial to her future: She can live with her best friend, seventeen-year-old Annie Surratt at Mrs. Surratt's inn, where play actor and Confederate-supporter John Wilkes Booth often boards, though many caution Emily that evil is lurking amongst that house. Or she could go and work as a seamstress girl in-training, like her mother before her, with Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln's former-slave, now best friend and confidante. Or lastly, Emily can go live with her very wealthy uncle, Valentine Bransby, a prosperous, successful doctor, and quite a debonair, too; though Emily's mother's dying wish was that her daughter would promise her to never live with Uncle Valentine.

Then, suddenly, President Lincoln is tragically shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth, who is now a runaway and wanted for Lincoln's murder, along with a few other accomplices, including Annie's older brother, Johnny---who has escaped to Canada, and whom Emily has a little crush on---and Mrs. Surratt herself has been arrested and imprisoned, for "harboring a fugitive." The whole of Washington, D.C. becomes immersed in total chaos and turmoil. Guns fire. People scream. Mobs shout. Fires are started. Arrests are made.
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Format: Paperback
"An Acquaintance With Darkness" is suspenseful the whole way through. A historical fiction novel that is woven togther in a way that captures the hitorical aspects of Lincoln's assassination in a story. The book is about 14-year-old Emily Pigbush and her life is not so good. Her mother has just died and Emily is forced to live with her uncle who her mother hated. She finds out that her uncle is involved in some suspicious business. She does some sneaking around to find out what he is up to. Her sneaking around almost ruins her uncle's life work. He lies to her and she has no one to turn to not even her best friend Annie. Annie's mother was recently arrested for being involved with Lincoln's assassination. Annie is totally torn and will not listen to anyone. Then Emily tries to run away and ruins everything she detroys some of her uncle's greatest work and damages her relationship with her uncle forever.
This book is about how human emotions can always get the better of you. A girl relies on what she wants to happen instead of what is right. Ann Rinaldi touches on some life issues that you couldn't read in many other books. "An Acquaintance With Darkness" will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Once you start reading it you will not want to stop.
If you are interested in learning some history while reading "An Acquainteance With Darkness" is right for you. There is a lot of history in the book. It touches on what went on in Lincon's assassination and who was responsible for it. You also find out how hard it was for people to make it through such a tragedy. You learn how a town would react if the president was killed. People start to become untrusting and jumpy.
So if you like a good suspenseful book and if you're looking to learn a little along the way then "An Acquaintance With Darkness" is the right book for you.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was my first Ann Rinaldi book. I was stunned by it. It was just absolutly wonderful- filled with everything and just about anything you could want, (at least what I wanted). It was my favorite book. If you're a great historical fiction lover and/or Ann Rinaldi story lover this would be an extrememly nice addition for your reading buds.
The book's main character (whom you've probably already found out) is fourteen year old Emily Pigbrush, who experiences through many tragic events. First her widow mother dies and she decides to live with her best friend, Annie Surratts. But on the night before she moves out the greatest of all misfortunes happen - President Lincoln gets shot and suspicion falls on the Surratts. Forced to go and live with Uncle Valentine, Emily finds out more as to why her mother hated her brother so much. As to the rest, you really should find out yourself. In the end the story leaves you a strange feeling. One that signals the end but it leaves you kind of sad. Over all it's a great book.
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Format: Hardcover
Emily Bransby Pigbush finds herself in the midst of turmoil in Washington DC at the end of the Civil War. For a poverty-stricken girl nursing a mother dying of tuberculosis, she is very much in the thick of events. Everything starts to go wrong for Emily. Her proud, genteel mother scorns family and friends, so Emily is the sole caretaker in the end. Emily's mother was an assistant to Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker, and Emily's friend, Johnny is conspiring for the Confederacy with John Wilkes Booth.
When Emily is orphaned, she goes to live in luxury with her uncle (whom her mother always hated). This uncle is a prominent doctor and medical researcher with extensive war experience and a scientific mind. To further medical science, he must supply his medical students with cadavers-which are mainly available through grave robbery.
Emily is characterized with a nice blend of strength and naivete, appropriate for her age as a child about to blossom into womanhood. The relationships to her friends-both the fierce loyalty for one and an extreme antipathy for another-are not well fleshed out, which is a failing, since the friends and enemies are so influential to the life paths she takes.
The story is a good one, but it really needed to be either longer, or shorter. Emily seems to be connected by only 1 or 2 degrees of separation to all the important events of the day, rather than the usual 6 or so. Everything seems to touch her life-John Wilkes Booth and the theater, confederate soldiers and spies, science and superstition, recently freed slaves and former slave owners, jails, executions, herbal lore, night blooming plants, etc. Rinaldi packs too many historical threads in the book without fleshing them out sufficiently with characters and stories.
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