Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Monday, January 25, 2010

A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff

Here’s an author I’ve wanted to read for awhile. Based on this sample, her other books should be worth checking into.

Life in Germany during WWI is hard for Dina, but not for reasons you might expect. Her father died a couple years before, and her family supports itself by work as tailors. Dina is the most innately talented of the bunch and is also the most bored with the long hours and dreary work.

Through a case of mistaken identity, that is, her being mistaken for a spy, Dina must flee to America. This holds much promise for a better future in her eyes… Until she arrives to find her family there lives barely above poverty in Brooklyn, New York, where she is expected to help contribute to the family coffers by working as… a tailor.

This well-told tale touches upon her homesickness, the smallpox epidemic, a fire, and a chance at a better future after all…


Historical Fiction: Germany; America; Small-pox; 1870; Franco-Prussian War


Nancy P. January 26, 2010 at 3:45 AM  

I previewed her book, Nory Ryan's Song, about the Irish potato famine, for our girls book group, ages 8-12, but found some of the descriptions really strong. I will have my 12 year old read it, because it was very well done. Thanks for the post about this one.

Tween Lit Crit January 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM  

Thanks for the feedback. I haven't read Nory Ryan's song (yet). This particular book shouldn't have anything troubling for mid-older tweens. The description of smallpox is not too detailed but combined with the carts that come through the city to take people away or to the hospital until they die, that might be too disturbing for the younger ones.

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