Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl: Ghosts in the Closet

Written by Pj McIlvaine
Review by J. Lynn Else

Violet Yorke is returning to her grandmother’s care after surviving the shipwreck of 1912. Since no one in the hospital believes she’s who she says she is, Violet makes a discreet exit and finds her way home, only to walk in on her own funeral. When asked about how she survived the Titanic, Violet hesitates. No one believes that she can see ghosts, so why would they believe that a ghost helped her into a lifeboat? After all, she was sent away for two years because of a vengeful ghost. Now that she’s back, she’s determined to find out the secret of her parents’ death. However, a nefarious man has been following her. While he’s eluded police, Violet knows danger may be closer than anyone thinks.

Twelve-year-old Violet is intelligent, curious, spirited, and determined. While Violet has some growing up to do, she’s an enjoyable main character with a strong voice. During her sleuthing, Violet learns that her family is withholding information about her parents’ death, and her faith in the people she’s looked up to her whole life is torn. Meanwhile, there’s the curiously gloomy Dunham Hall and the mystery of her governess’s murder. Despite these dueling mysteries, the plot never feels oversaturated. In fact, McIlvaine packs a lot of story into a little more than 100 pages. With a wealthy Gilded Age setting, intriguing characters, a few chilling ghostly encounters, and family secrets, Violet Yorke, Gilded Girl is an entertaining middle-grade tale.