Publication Date: January 3, 2023
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Ages 14 And Up, Grades 9 And Up
Orpha doesn't speak about what got her into prison.
No one would listen.
No one would believe her.
Haunted by nightmarish flashbacks and withering in the miserable conditions of Tothill prison, 16-year-old Orpha perseveres, doing what she can to befriend and protect the other girls imprisoned alongside her.
But then a mysterious letter arrives, offering her a place at a women's home called Urania cottage. It sounds too good to be true--but with nowhere else to go, Orpha decides to take her chance. Soon she discovers the letter-writer is none other than Charles Dickens.
With the support of the other women of Urania and the promise of a real future, Orpha will have to confront the darkest parts of her past-- and let go of her secrets.
This atmospheric historical novel, full of heartbreakingly real characters, celebrates the strength and resilience of young women throughout history. Virginia Frances Schwartz's powerful prose, structured to echo Dickens' serialized style, illuminates an era of startling inequality and extreme poverty. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever 1793, Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, and Katherine Paterson's Lyddie will enjoy this riveting title.
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