Queen of Hearts (review)
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512  •  The Bulletin as a tad smarter and a lot harder working than other start-ups who pursued similar ideas. Blumenthal is a deft hand at explaining stock splits, markups, and the niceties of planning for profit in the world of discount marketing, and readers who have never given much thought to business practices will easily follow her explanations of Sam’s (please, do call him Sam) strategies. Plenty of black-and-white photos document the morphing retail landscape, and sidebars and insets offer fascinating asides on topics from shopping carts to charges of racism in the early days of the company. A closing note remarks on the difficulties of researching an individual who closely guarded his privacy; chapter notes and a bibliography are also included. EB Brooks, Martha  Queen of Hearts.  Farrar, 2011  [224p] ISBN 978-0-374-34229-6  $16.99 Reviewed from galleys   R  Gr. 6-9 It’s been less than a year since Oncle Gérard, Papa’s younger brother who had been living temporarily with the Côté family, died of tuberculosis. Now, shortly before Christmas, Marie-Claire and both her younger siblings have been stricken with the disease and are confined to the same Manitoba hospital, Pembina Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium, with uncertain prognoses. Luc, age eleven, is admitted in the worst shape and passes away within weeks; little Josée comes around quickly and is discharged by summer. Marie-Claire, though, passes her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays “chasing the cure,” the term used by staff and TB patients in the early 1940s, before the advent of modern medical treatments for the illness. Marie-Claire is far from a model patient, vocally resisting the cold-air treatments, nourishing food, and enforced rest prescribed to all sufferers; and she’s also far from a model roommate, resisting the friendly overtures of Signy, a seventeen-year-old patient who has been at the sanatorium for several years with little improvement. Today’s readers will likely be taken aback by the now-discredited induced-pneumothorax (collapsed lung) treatment intended to “rest” an afflicted lung, and a larger dose of specific information about current treatment than is provided in the author’s introduction would be most welcome.The novel’s focus, however, is steadily directed on Marie-Claire’s deteriorating relationship with her parents, who in their grief over one lost child are not able to offer their eldest daughter the emotional support she needs; with Signy, who becomes dependent on Marie-Claire’s companionship, even though she realizes her roommate will recover and leave; and with Jack Hawkings , a handsome musician (well into recovery) with whom Marie-Claire forms a romantic attachment. Readers who accompanied Peg Kehret on her treatment and recovery from polio in Small Steps (BCCB 11/96) will be equally fascinated by Marie-Claire’s fictionalized yet convincing travail. EB Burtenshaw, Jenna  Shadowcry.  Greenwillow, 2011  [320p]  (The Secrets of Wintercraft) ISBN 978-0-06-202642-2  $16.99 Reviewed from galleys   Ad  Gr. 7-10 During a raid of her town, Kate learns that she is one of the Skilled, with abilities beyond those normal people possess—most immediately, the ability to bring a bird back to life, which is why the wardens who pelted her town with dead birds to draw out any Skilled who might be hiding there are now hotly pursuing her. She flees with her best friend, Edgar, but doesn’t get far before she’s taken captive by Silas, an implacable reanimated warrior who takes her to Albion’s capital city. There Da’ru, ...


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