Sparrows in the Scullery

Mystery / 10 Days

Barbara Brooks Wallace transports readers back to 19th-century England, to the time when it was not uncommon for orphans to be sold to seemingly charitable homes where they were clothed and fed, but where they were often required to toil long hours in factories. That’s the horror that befalls once privileged, recently orphaned Colley Trevelyan.

The action takes off at a horse’s gallop: After his parents are killed in a carriage accident, Colley is kidnapped and sold to the Broggin Home for Boys. There he is stripped of his name and put to work in a glass factory. It’s a far cry from the servants and estate to which he’s accustomed, but Colley becomes close to the other boys, and learns about friendship, teamwork, and survival.

Wallace is deliberately Dickensian in her portrait of the home and the boys, yet the tale is full of hope: The boys find an unexpected savior, and readers will be borne along by the suspense to an exhilarating conclusion.