As the head of household at the famous Sewell mansion in the 1920s, 12-year-old Martha’s Ma quickly hires her as the new kitchen maid; a necessity after Martha smart talks her teacher one too many times and gets kicked out of her local parish school. Mr. Sewell is the wealthy owner of a large newspaper company, but it’s his reclusive wife Rose who has all of New York City talking in Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s “The Gallery”. “Wild Rose” as she used to be known around town, was once an outspoken and independent young woman who stood up for what she believed in and set big goals for herself as the inheritor of her father’s newspaper legacy. Yet, once she married Mr. Sewell and he took over the company, she became a shut-in amongst claims of mental illness, never to be seen outside of her bedroom.
With the help of strategically placed paintings around the mansion and their hidden meanings, Martha begins to suspect that there’s far more to Rose’s story. With a daring escape plan beginning to unfurl, you’ll hold your breath and hope with all of your heart that Martha and Rose get everything they deserve, despite the obstacles plaguing their every move.
I’ll admit that it can be difficult to sell me on historical fiction. I have to be in the right mood for the right decade. I’ll also cop to the fact that I haven’t read much about the Roaring Twenties. However, even for someone as picky as me, “The Gallery” sucked me in right from the first chapter and totally enthralled me with the scenery and characteristics of that time period. Martha’s vibrant, determined, and independent personality not only made this mystery plausible, but exciting and accessible too.
Adults are sometimes surprised when I recommend “kids” books as fantastic reads, but I love them for a reason, and this book fits right in with that thought. The intriguing mystery, the vivid descriptions and background history of famous paintings, and the premise of strong female characters will pull in readers of any age, especially if you’re a mystery lover like moi.
Pro tip: Listen to “The Gallery” on audiobook if possible. The narrator’s span of voices makes this already rich and funny book even more captivating!
You can put “The Gallery” on hold in our catalog right now. While you’re waiting, be sure to check out “You Might Also Like These …” at the bottom of the book’s page for more reading suggestions!