Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume

Eleven-year old Cornelia is about to make a remarkable discovery. Words can open up doors to the world or just as easily shut it out. It all depends on how you use them!

Cornelia is the daughter of two world-famous concert pianists. She feels ignored by her mother who is never home, abandoned by her father who she has never met, and forgotten by a world she does not want to be a part of. She uses words to insulate herself from children who annoy her, adults who try to befriend her, and her housekeeper who tries to help her.  But when a new neighbor moves in, things begin to change. Elderly Virginia Somerset puts Cornelia under a spell of sorts. The interior of her New York apartment has been made up to look like various exotic foreign places! She has a mysterious servant named Patel and many adventure stories to tell. Virginia tells Cornelia all about her adventures with her sisters in the early 1950’s, but Cornelia soon learns lessons that can help her in today’s world. This is a charming and heart- warming story about unusual magic, the kind that comes when you make unlikely friends. It is a must-read.