Title: Secrets of Greymoor
Author: Clara Gillow Clark
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: wealth, poverty, taxes, auction, jobs
Review: After her mother passed away, eleven-year old Hattie Belle Basket moved in with her grandmother in a lovely mansion in the grand part of town. All agreed this move would provide Hattie with more opportunities than staying with her father, who lived in a remote cabin and worked long hours as a lumberjack. Hattie thrived in this arrangement, since it included high-quality instruction from an adored tutor as well as meals and loving attention from a cook, both of whom resided on-site.
These apparent luxuries, however, masked financial problems which Hattie had suspected from stories that Grandfather has squandered all of Grandmother's wealth before his institutionalization in the insane asylum and his death. The precariousness of the financial situation, however, became all too apparent to Hattie when she discovered a notice from the tax collector for overdue payment. In her desire to find a solution herself and prevent Grandmother from worrying, Hattie hid the notice. Could that have been a fateful mistake, or would the mysterious diary that she found in Grandfather's coat lining offer a clue as to where he may have hidden Grandmother's fortune?
This entertaining novel offers not only intrigue and culture, but also a good dose of economics. On the brink of financial ruin, a formerly well-to-do woman cannot face reality and expects her social class to absolve her from her obligations. Readers will wonder to the end if her feisty and well-intentioned granddaughter can unravel the secret code and restore the household to its former grandeur.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children