March's Book A Samantha Mystery, The Stolen Sapphire

Grab this months 2 book selections, a blanket and your favorite 18 inch doll friend, don't worry if you happen upon us mid way through, join us when you can and leave your comments here or email me at with any book club questions.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chapter reviews, Chapter 1-3

In this chapter we find Samantha looking everywhere for her adopted sister Jenny....
Why do you think Jenny was hiding?
Image of New York in the 1900's

Change is hard for anyone and moving even for a short time can bring on feelings of worry or stress. Why do you think Samantha was looking forward to the stay at Ravenscourt yet the O'Malley sisters we not?

This is an aerial view of New York in the 1900's

In this chapter the girls learn of unexpected occurrences at Ravenscourt.
We also learn that the O'Malley sisters have never been in a elevator before, they are staying on the "12th" floor and their are only two apartments on this floor, one belonging to the owner of the building and his daughter. 
When the girls see the apartment they are introduced to the the cook and a maid named Mary Crosby, and neighbor Eloise Raven what do you think each character thought of the elevator ride, the apartment, Mary Crosby, and Eloise Raven?
A Raven statue, not overly friendly looking!

Chapter 3-CURSED

In this chapter Nellie tells Samantha about some unpleasant things from her past including the old building that Mr. Raven owns in a very poor area of town, about the Kildany family who suffered terribly due to the conditions of the time, and their situation and Grandmother Kildany who put a terrible "curse" on Mr. Raven.

Do you believe in such "curses" or superstitions?
Why do you think people of this time were so quick to believe in "curses"?

In this Chapter Samantha seems to struggle with feeling left out with her sisters. Do you think Samantha handles her situation well? How would you feel if you felt left out in your family and would you speak up? In Samantha's time do you think it was as easy for people to speak about their feelings as we do today?

Feel free to leave your answers and questions in the comment section below.
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment or email me at


  1. I don't believe in superstitions or curses. I think that since there were so many new inventions and ideas at this time, people might have been scared of how they would work and if something bad would happen as a result of them. I think, as with almost everything Samantha does, she handles the situation well. I wouldn't really speak out at first if I was feeling left out in my family, but I'd try to let them know my internal feelings by my external actions. I definately don't think that it was easy for people to speak their feelings as we do today, because everything is not as proper and formal as they were at the time when Samantha lived. People back then (expecially children and servants) had to know their places, and to try and not speak as often, unless told to speak or asked a question.

  2. So true Anastasia! I know it would be hard for me to keep my mouth closed! It is such a very different time, though I love the manners and how exciting it must have been for people living during these times with everything that was new! Though it looks like only if you were wealthy would you get to experience the luxury life style of Samantha and her family.

  3. I don't believe in superstitions either. I think that one reason Jenny was hiding was because she'd experienced so much change in her life. Going from her parents, to her uncle, and the orphanage. It was like she was going to have to leave her newly found life. My two adopted cousins from China are kind of like that. I was in the store with one of them and I was going literally five feet away, and she grabbed my hand and said, "Emma, don't go!". She looked really scared, like I might really be leaving her.

    I also think that it might be more difficult to speak up during that period of time, because of the whole "children should be seen and not heard" thing.

  4. Emma that is very true! I think you are right, it is a very tough thing to experience that much change as a young child. I am so glad you shared your story!

  5. Following the comments of others, I believe that so much had changed for the O'Malley sisters in such a short period of time (the last change for the better) that they were worried about moving away from the warm, loving home that they had just found. Samantha on the other hand, having led a privileged and sheltered life, viewed living at Ravenscourt as an adventure to be had.

    As far as their views of Ravenscourt when they first arrived,Bridget and Jenny were probably put on ease with the beautiful apartment and delightful elevator ride. Samantha was probably so concerned with Nellie's fearful reaction, that she probably wasn't focused on the details. As for the "curse" that Nellie relates, curses or superstitions were much more prevalent in 1900 for the simple fact that there was less technology and medical explanation in those days than there is now. Such things as "side shows" in circuses are just one example. People with medical conditions that made them unusual were much more entertaining to look at (and exploit) when there wasn't a medical explanation for their condition. As medical science became more developed, side shows began to fall out of favor. Much of the some holds true for past superstitions and old wife's tales.

  6. That is so true Heather, thank you for your comments.