Synopses & Reviews
When sisters Sadie and Zuzu Brooks move to Salt Lake City, they discover a secret room in the attic of their new house, with a sign that reads "Palace Beautiful" and containing an old journal. Along with their neighbor, dramatic Belladonna Desolation (real name: Kristin Smith), they take turns reading the story of a girl named Helen living during the flu epidemic of 1918. The journal ends with a tragedy that has a scary parallel to Sadie and Zuzu?s lives, and the girls become obsessed with finding out what happened to Helen after the journal ends. Did she survive the flu? Is she still alive somewhere? Or could her ghost be lurking in the nearby graveyard?
Sarah DeFord Williams has created a gripping read that covers two time periods, many fantastic characters, and a can't-put-it-down ending, all with delightful, extraordinary prose.
"Soon after 13-year-old Sadie arrives with her family at their new home in 1985 Salt Lake City, she meets a ghost-obsessed girl who calls herself Bella, and discovers an attic nook named Palace Beautiful. Sadie loves painting and colors especially naming them (chapters are titled 'cave-dwelling white' and 'spontaneous-combustion scarlet'). Sadie's mother died giving birth to her younger sister, Zuzu, and Sadie harbors anger about that, as well as fear that her pregnant stepmother, Sherrie, may suffer a similar fate. Sadie, Bella, and Zuzu find a journal in Palace Beautiful written by Helen, a girl their age whose family was stricken with influenza in 1918, and whose fears parallel Sadie's. Debut author Williams's vivid prose brings both Sadie and Helen's worlds to life, and narrator Sadie is a particularly perhaps overly precocious observer ('Dad found Sherrie a year and a half ago. She came from Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Dad saw her working at the makeup counter and they fell in love'). Through moments of heartache and joy, Sadie's strong, contemplative spirit shines through, as does the thrill of discovering a secret place of one's one. Ages 10 up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When sisters Sadie and Zuzu move to Salt Lake City, they discover an old journal in a secret room in their new house. Along with their neighbor, Bella, the girls take turns reading the story of a girl named Helen who lived during the flu epidemic of 1918. They soon become wrapped up in Helen's tale, which ends with a tragedy that has a scary parallel to Sadie and Zuzu's lives. Did Helen survive the flu? Is she still alive somewhere? Or could her ghost be watching them?
About the Author
Sarah DeFord Williams lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and three kids. In addition to writing and spending time with her family, she loves being outdoors - especially in the mountains. She also plays guitar, sings, and enjoys songwriting. This is her first book.