Lesley M. M. Blume is the author of Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters and Tennyson. She lives in New York City.
Gr 4-6-Rusty Nail, MN, in 1953 is the backdrop for the mischievous, sometimes hilarious, antics of Franny Hansen and her best friend, Sandy Hellickson. In addition to being rambunctious and fun loving, the 10-year-old is a piano prodigy whose talents risk being wasted by the limited ability of the town's only piano teacher. Enter Olga Malenkov, a mysterious Russian, seemingly the wife of a big-city lawyer who is a former native son of Rusty Nail. The psychology of the McCarthy period spurs the townspeople to gossip and to decide that the stranger is a Communist spy. Franny's mother offers the voice of reason to balance the hysteria and paranoia rampant at the time. When the girls decide to do some spying of their own, Franny discovers that the newcomer plays the piano beautifully. She bargains her way to lessons, and the extent of her talent is discovered. Add to the mix Franny's piano rival-a stereotypically conceited, spoiled, bratty youngster-and a high-stakes competition, and the tension escalates. Blume has skillfully combined humor, history, and music to create an enjoyable novel that builds to a surprising crescendo.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"A story that is as rich as it is delicious."--Booklist, Starred
"Blume has skillfully combined humor, history, and music to
create an enjoyable novel that builds to a surprising
crescendo."--School Library Journal