The sequel to Peppermints in the Parlor, the story of orphaned Emily Luccock’s misfortunes continues. Her aunt and uncle seem to no longer want her, leaving her in the care of Mrs. Spilking’s Select Academy for Girls, a boarding school that proves to have a false reputation. As Emily quickly learns, the institution is not what her aunt and uncle were promised, and instead is more like a prison. Although she does make some friends, things for Emily go from bad to worse. But then someone with a connection to her past shows up, things turn around for the better, and Emily is reunited with her aunt and uncle. They did want her all along, and she is able to expose the academy for what it truly is. The writing style is compared to that of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.
Positives: Many admirable qualities are seen in Emily as a leader and courageous girl. She also endures through many trials and keeps her head about her. Character development is done well, and the end delivers a happy result.
Talking Points: There is no sense of God in this story, but there is a strong sense of upholding that which is right and true. Many opportunities exist for discussing the struggle between good and evil, and how evil triumphs at many turns. However, in the end the truth is known and all lies exposed. Parallels with reality that can pointed to are the trials of life (1 Pet. 1:3-9), the need for endurance in the face of hardship (Heb. 10:35-36), the sure victory that we can hope in, and knowing that God will make all things right in the end (Rev. 21:1-4)(and yet it is the beginning of a glorious eternity with Him).
Age Level: 8 and up (but this was a great read-aloud for my 6-year-old)