Tuesday June 7, 2011
by Sheila O'Connor
It's the summer before seventh grade, and twelve-year- old Raine O’Rourke's mother suddenly takes a job hours from home at mysterious Sparrow Road– a creepy, dilapidated mansion that houses an eccentric group of artists. Secrets surround the move. Raine cannot understand why her mother gives up her job in the city to work as a summer cook for the artists, why her mother is so familiar with Viktor Berglund, the owner and caretaker of the mansion; and why her mother will not allow Raine to accompany her shopping into the nearby town of Comfort .
Though sorely missing her grandfather, whom she and her mother left behind in Milwaukee,Raine tries to make sense of her new surroundings and eventually forges friendships with a cast of quirky characters including the outrageous and funky Josie.
Together, Raine and Josie decide to solve the mysteries of Sparrow Road–from its haunting history as an orphanage to the secrets of its silent, brooding owner, Viktor. What bond holds Lillian and Viktor together? Who are the orphans Lillian talks about? What brought the orphans to Sparrow Road, and where did they go when they left?
As Raine discovers her artist self, and she passes the days writing the story of an orphan boy, Lyman, who lived in the mansion; however, intertwined with Lyman’s story is Raine’s search for missing pieces of her own life. Raine’s life is turned upside down when her mother reveals the truth about their move to Sparrow Road.
I really enjoyed this coming of age story that is part mystery but mostly a heartwarming tale about relationships and the mending of broken bonds. Perfection! I recommend it highly for ages ten and up :)
***Kirkus Review starred