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When a publicity stunt goes terribly wrong, twelve-year-old Darleen Darling, star of the silent film era, must defeat villains both on screen and off in this edge-of-your-seat adventure.
Lights! Camera! Kidnapping?
It’s 1914, and Darleen Darling’s film adventures collide with reality when a fake kidnapping set up by her studio becomes all too real. Suddenly Darleen finds herself in the hands of dastardly criminals who have just nabbed Miss Victorine Berryman, the poor-little-rich-girl heiress of one of America’s largest fortunes. Soon real life starts to seem like a bona fide adventure serial, complete with dramatic escapes, murderous plots, and a runaway air balloon. Will Darleen and Victorine be able to engineer their own happily-ever-after, or will the villains be victorious?
About the Author
Anne Nesbet is the author of the historical middle-grade novels Cloud and Wallfish and The Orphan Band of Springdale, as well as three fantasy novels for middle-graders. Her books have received numerous accolades, including multiple starred reviews and appearances on many best book and notables lists. A professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Anne Nesbet lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In fittingly episodic chapters packed with smart dialogue, plucky characters, and dastardly villains, the girls must continuously save themselves from kidnappers out to steal Victorine's fortune at any cost. As Darleen continues to uphold her acting duties throughout the shenanigans, readers learn early tricks of the trade, with an appearance by groundbreaking filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché adding to the fun...Just like Darleen—a spunky blend of darling and daring.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Film studies professor Nesbet writes her intrepid heroine with swashbuckling verve and sweet familial affection, incorporating extensive knowledge of early-20th-century filmmaking into a well-paced, gripping tale of staying true to oneself while stretching limitations.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Nesbet’s new novel has all of the elements of classic old-fashioned adventure tales...A rollicking vintage adventure. Recommend to movie fans and readers who enjoy escapades of the past, with lots of twists and tangles.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Nesbet's (The Orphan Band of Springdale, 2018) deftly researched historical novel, set against a seldom-featured backdrop, has a comforting, old-fashioned feel. Spunky Darleen's story is buoyed by lively prose and crisp characterizations, and readers will be thrilled to join the adventure.
—Booklist (starred review)
Nesbet, a University Professor of Film and Media Studies, draws from her research a wealth of historical detail about film production at the time. An excellent suggestion for precocious readers and film history buffs alike.
—School Library Connection
Fabulous female characters, tender friendships, a fascinating setting, and a page-turning plot, all in one. Anne Nesbet has a brilliant lightness of style that makes the whole book sparkle.
—Ann Braden, author of The Benefits of Being an Octopus
“Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen has that rare combination of rich historical detail, page-turning action, and engaging (vibrant! ebullient!) voice that keeps you up way past your bedtime. Come for the fascinating window into early silent films; stay for narrow escapes, family secrets, nefarious villains, and a deep, authentic friendship between two resourceful girls who bond over lost mothers, the promise of the future, and good cocoa.”
—J. Anderson Coats, author of The Green Children of Woolpit and R Is for Rebel
This charming romp will delight discriminating readers who appreciate narrow escapes, true blue friendships, and the restorative properties of butterscotch.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Nesbet re-creates the pace and melodrama of early films in her prose: “Oh, do be cautious! I’m afraid they’re dangerous, desperate men.” The strong character development and rich historical setting elevate the novel beyond period froth...By the end, Darleen discovers that she really is brave and that she can take control of her future.
—The Horn Book