Notice the section about the book being printed during the war. Although the copyright date on this book is 1934, the actual printing must have taken place during WWII.
Jean and Louise and both sophomores at Starburst Academy. A rather complex story begins early on with the two girls hiding in a cave from someone who appears to be a hunchback. It turns out that it's a girl, and not a boy as they first thought. Before long the wind comes up and the girl loses an important letter and a $1000 bill that had been sent to her.
This leads into a story involving a famous female artist who has a mysterious painting which she has not signed. Her health rapidly worsens and there's a question whether or not she'll make it to the end of the story alive.
Another thing going on is a sort of romance that seems to suddenly die when there's an argument and the guy leaves and no one knows where to find him.
Another theme is about the girl hunchback, Josie Sykes, who is under suspicion for stealing money from an orphanage she had been in and ran away from. Another theme involving Josie is trying to locate where her father is; he had left her at the orphanage some years back.
Then there's also a shady character who claims to be a real artist but is, in fact, a common thief.
For fun, there's always Lettie's antics, of course.
There is some quite noticeable racial stereotyping in this novel, as there is a woman named Mammy Cleo who works for the famous woman artist. She's black, and the way she speaks is typical of the stereotype of the time:v
'Oh, Lawd!' she moaned. 'Please don' take mah Miss Constance away. Please, Lawd, let her git well again. Dis ole cullud woman can't git along without her nohow. She's been mighty sick, Lawd, but she's jes' gopt to git well again.'
Other than that typical language of the time, the book is really very well done and very interesting.
Young adult Index
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