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The Curse of Ravenscourt

by Sarah Masters Buckey
Series: American Girl Mysteries #
181 pages, Mystery
Reviewed by Ariel_of_Narnia

Good mystery superstitions aside.

Plot

While renovations are made to her home, Samantha Parkington, her adopted sisters, and her aunt and uncle are residing in the exquisite Ravenscourt apartments. Strange things start happening and these events are pinned to a curse laid on the owner, Mr. Raven. Samantha is determined to find out if there's a human behind it or if it's really a curse at work.

Morality

Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia are loving adopted parents who reassure the girls that they would never leave them. Nellie, Bridget, and Jenny are tight-knit and go to each other for the highest levels of comfort. Samantha loves her adopted family and wishes to be of the greatest help available. She and Nellie are also concerned for people unrelated to them.

Mr. Raven is a harsh man when it comes to tending to tenement houses and collecting rent; his daughter - with Nellie's help - convinces him to improve the tenements and be kinder to his renters.

Spiritual Content

Nellie is concerned that a certain kind of raven statue brings bad luck. She talks about a woman with "second sight" and a curse she pronounced on Mr. Raven. Samantha remembers that her grandmother said not to believe in superstitions, though she's a little spooked by the strange events. Nellie is convinced of the curse. The number thirteen is painted on the sign for the thirteenth floor (it had been labeled as twelve, not counting the lobby level). The "peek at the past" section at the back of the book talks some more about superstitions believed in the early 1900s and even mentions two girls who marketed themselves as mediums (though the author is quick to add that they admitted that their "powers" were faked).

A woman tells the girls that another woman has "gone to her maker". "Thank God" and "Thank heavens" are said after incidents. Someone says money will do them no good if they "roast in Hell for their sins".

Violence

An elevator crashes (no one is hurt). A man grabs Samantha and Nellie. An umbrella is used as a weapon. A man holds a gun to someone.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

The worst it gets is a couple exclamations of "jiminy" by Samantha.

Conclusion

This is a fine mystery with lovely lead characters, though superstitions are rather far-fetched. This would serve as a good discussion-starter about superstitions (be they curses, ravens, unlucky thirteen, spirits, or otherwise).

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

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