Knopf Books for Young Readers, Library Binding, 9780375947032, 240pp.
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
It’s 1932, the Depression. Things are evening out among people everywhere. Tennyson Fontaine and her sister Hattie live in a rickety shack of a house with their mother and father and their wild dog, Jos. There is no school, only a rope swing in the living room and endless games of hide-and-seek in the woods on the banks of the Mississippi. But when their mother disappears and their father sets off to find her, the girls find themselves whisked away to Aigredoux, once one of the grandest houses in Louisiana, and now a vine-covered ruin. Under the care of their austere Aunt Henrietta, who is convinced the girls will save the family’s failing fortunes, Tennyson discovers the truth about Aigredoux, the secrets that have remained locked deep within its decaying walls. Caught in a strange web of time and history, Tennyson comes up with a plan to bring Aigreoux’s past to light. But will it bring her mother home?
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, January 7, 2008:
“The writing offers its own hypnotic montage of poetic images, turning stereotypes into archetypes.”
Review, The New York Times Book Review, March 16, 2008:
“Aigredoux itself, with its towering columns and ‘Spanish moss…looking like ghost clothes that had been flung up there to dry,’ comes to life beautifully.”