The Resource The gallery, Laura Marx Fitzgerald

The gallery, Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Label
The gallery
Title
The gallery
Statement of responsibility
Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In 1929 New York City, twelve-year-old housemaid Martha O'Doyle suspects that a wealthy recluse may be trying to communicate with the outside world through the paintings on her gallery walls
Character
Review
  • Grades 4-7 /* Starred Review */ Fitzgerald (Under the Egg, 2014) gives the art mystery a new twist in her latest novel. She takes readers back to New York City in the late 1920s, where inquisitive, 12-year-old Martha O’Doyle joins her mother as a maid in the Sewell mansion. While much of the house gleams with impressive finery, it is also noteworthy for what cannot be seen, namely, an art collection and the impetuous Mrs. Sewell. Rumored to be mad, Mrs. Sewell is confined to her bedroom along with her precious paintings, of which she sends a select few to be hung in the downstairs gallery. The pictures pique Martha’s curiosity, and she suspects that they contain a message from her quarantined mistress. Determined to unravel their meaning, Martha starts snooping and discovers the paintings are but one of the Sewell mansion’s many secrets. This lively and inventive mystery successfully incorporates history, art, and literary classics. Readers will catch glimpses of vaudeville acts, challenges facing immigrants, Prohibition, Hoover’s presidential campaign, and the stock market crash as they follow Martha, who proves a funny and tenacious protagonist, through her investigation. While not all questions are answered by story’s end, readers will certainly be swept up by Martha’s pluck and the mystery’s many layers. A concluding author Q&A offers insight into the history and art peppering the novel’s pages. -- Smith, Julia (Reviewed 5/1/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 17, p46)
  • Gr 5–8—At 100 years old, Martha O'Doyle decides to record the story of the most eventful six-month period in her life, a period that taught her to be the hero of her own story. Expelled from catechism class in 1928 for questioning the story of Adam and Eve, 12-year-old Martha takes a job as a maid in the Sewell mansion, where her mother is housekeeper. Mr. Sewell is a prominent newspaper magnate, and his supposedly "mad" wife Rose is kept under lock and key in her room with her beloved paintings. Martha is incredibly curious about Rose Sewell, particularly after she escapes her room one night and nearly sets fire to the mansion. She suspects Rose is trying to relay messages through the paintings she chooses to send down to the gallery, and Martha is determined to discover the truth about Rose's "madness." With a narrative voice in Martha that is equal parts pragmatic and wry, Fitzgerald weaves an engaging mystery set in New York City in the Roaring Twenties. Rose's plight challenges readers to think about gender inequity during the time period, and they will be further encouraged by references to stories such as that of Proserpina and Jupiter. Current events of the day are incorporated into the plot, and an author's note describes how the story grew from newspaper headlines, biographies, and memoirs. VERDICT A solid, fast-moving mystery for historical fiction fans, with nods to art history and mythology.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL --Amanda Raklovits (Reviewed 05/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 5, p92)
  • This cleverly constructed historical mystery stars 12-year-old Martha O'Doyle, expelled from her Brooklyn parochial school in 1928 for what Sister Ignatius deems cheekiness but others might call curiosity. Martha's Irish immigrant mother gets her a job as a maid at the Fifth Avenue mansion where she keeps house for J. Archer Sewell, a newspaper mogul with a problem straight out of Jane Eyre: a mad wife locked away upstairs (with an art collection that would make curators drool). Fitzgerald (Under the Egg) stuffs the story with period detail: the Herbert Hoover/Al Smith presidential race, Sacco and Vanzetti's execution, and women's suffrage all figure in the plot as Martha, sensing something amiss, tries to decode the messages Mrs. Sewell may be sending through the paintings that hang in the eponymous gallery. At first, the frame device (Martha tells the story in flashback as she celebrates her 100th birthday) seems superfluous, but the neat ending wraps up the mystery in a satisfying way. Offer this to fans of Blue Balliett who like sophisticated adventures. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (June)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 05/23/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 21, p)
  • Only Martha holds the key to a rollicking 1920s madcap mystery.When the white 13-year-old is expelled from Catholic school for impertinence (just "why was Eve punished for knowledge?"), Martha's Irish-immigrant mother, a housekeeper at a Fifth Avenue mansion, gets her employed as a kitchen maid. Her curious mind sets to work on the intrigues of newspaper mogul J. Archer Sewell and his "invalid" wife, who stays shut in her room along with an astounding art collection. Capable and curious Martha, however, learns that not all is as it seems. Capers ensue, in which the impending stock market collapse and yellow journalism play important roles, providing parallels to today. The costume ball at the climax includes a cast of many figures likely unfamiliar to readers, including Cole Porter, the Astors, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson, Duke Ellington, and more. Within Martha's clearly forward-thinking but white perspective, none of the inherent racism of the era is remarked on or observed even as she comments on its sexism. But in her second novel, Fitzgerald (Under the Egg, 2014) has neatly developed Martha as a perfectly period-appropriate spunky-girl protagonist readers will root for. Fitzgerald balances mystery and history in a feminist narrative that invites readers to find out more. (Historical fiction. 9-13)(Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2016)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10495164
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Fitzgerald, Laura Marx
Dewey number
  • 813/.6
  • [Fic]
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 5
  • 8
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Mystery and detective stories
  • Household employees
  • Art
  • Irish Americans
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • JUVENILE FICTION
  • JUVENILE FICTION
  • JUVENILE FICTION
  • Household employees
  • Art
  • Irish Americans
  • New York (N.Y.)
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
The gallery, Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn922155879
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
321 pages
Isbn
9780525428657
Lccn
2015029009
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)922155879
Label
The gallery, Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocn922155879
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
321 pages
Isbn
9780525428657
Lccn
2015029009
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)922155879

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