The Secret of the Sealed Room

The Secret of the Sealed Room

Book - 2010
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MacDonald delivers a historical mystery with a twist: young printer's apprentice Benjamin Franklin is one of the detectives.
Audience: 008-012
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Aladdin, c2010
ISBN: 9781416997603
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY J MAC
Characteristics: 208 p. ; 22 cm

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blue_dogfish_270
May 13, 2019

This book was on a list of books recommended for 2-3rd graders. I started to read this to my daughter, but quickly decided that I felt it was inappropriate for her at this time. The story centers on a 14-year-old female indentured servant, and the masters and many others in authority talk to her very cruelly and treat her harshly. Within the first two chapters, two deaths are dealt with, one of a baby.

The author displays a not-so-subtle anti-Christian bias, and that's another reason I felt it was wiser to wait on recommending this book to my daughter. Even the first page of the book starts off with negativity associated with the faith. I would say the belief system of the servant is (on my cursory reading) close to atheism, with hostility toward Christian ideas and clergy. It's a modern rendition of a story set in the 1700s, at a time when most of the colonized world held a Christian worldview, so an explanation of why the servant is antagonistic would be in order (maybe one comes later in the book). But, I guess, the author was trying to please her 21st century critics.

The mystery itself seems compelling. I'd suggest for 12-13 year olds, and up, depending on maturity. Something we may return to in the future.

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