Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Scarlet Stockings by Charlotte Kandel

I breezed through this lovely middle-grade book. Charlotte Kandel's The Scarlet Stockings harkens back to the types of books for girls from back in the day.

The book takes place in the 1920's and starts with a 12-year old orphan girl named Daphne and her experience at the Catholic orphanage where she has grown up. She loves to dance and teaches herself steps in the little spare time she has. One day she receives a mysterious package in the mail. An instruction manual for learning to dance and a pair of scarlet stockings along with a riddle about the stockings:

First, you must find me.
Then, you must follow me.
Choosing, you will test me.
Knowing, you will challenge me.
At last, you must deserve me.

Daphne delights in her new possessions and becomes even more excited when she is finally adopted by a generous family. Her life speeds ahead quickly when she accepts a position as a starlet's personal assistant and learns the ways of the theater world. She learns the magic of the scarlet stockings and begins a journey she has always dreamed about: becoming a prima ballerina.

I don't want to give the whole story away. I do want to say that I truly enjoyed reading a story that is old-fashioned and without gimmicks (no trading cards, online games, treasure hunts, or anything else involved here). Just straight story-telling. Admittedly, the book is a bit long at 367 pages and I believe its length will turn some readers away. The first two parts of the book seem to drag on a bit, while the last three parts speed by. But overall I feel like female readers in the 9-12 group will really enjoy this tale. It's the first in a trilogy as well, so those who enjoy it can look for more to come!

Source disclosure: Received a copy from the author through Shelf Awareness.

1 comment:

Lenore said...

I took ballet for about a year as a kid. I really liked it, but then we moved and my new neighborhood didn't offer any classes. I sometimes wonder what if?