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Monday, April 21, 2008

The desolate, lonely sorrow of one's dreams

The Court of the Stone Children (Eleanor Cameron) is a quietly emotional story for "young adults" (such an unfortunate -- perhaps necessary? -- term). Nina is a troubled young child, torn between the love of her parents and resentment towards her father's illness that required moving to the city. When she learns of the French Museum, it seems that she finally has found a place for herself, the quiet and wonderful rooms where she relaxes under her "Museum feeling". She finally makes some friends - the awkward young boy Gil, the quiet caretaker Auguste, Mrs. Staynes, the chief curator Mam'zelle -- and the elegant Dominique de Lombre.

"I knew you'd come," whispers Dominique to Nina. "Be sure to come back. Though of course you will." And of course Nina does. The two become close friends, sharing as best they can their loneliness - "the desolate, lonely sorrow of one's dreams," Domi cries. And in Domi's dreams, Nina is the one who will help Domi's father. As their friendship grows, Nina realizes that Domi's fate, and that of Domi's father, lie in the two hundred year-old journals of another young woman, the passionate and ill-fated Odile Chyrsostome.

I've spoken well of Eleanor Cameron before, as she wrote the Tycho Bass series which I love (though these are intended for a much younger audience than The Court of the Stone Children). This story is far more deep.

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