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CONTAGION by Joanne Dahme


by Joanne Dahme

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7624-3738-2
Publisher: Running Press Teens

A spirited young woman encounters murder and deception as Philadelphia battles deadly typhoid in 1895. Married to wealthy, arrogant Irish contractor Patrick Dugan, 18-year-old Rose finds her husband attractive but troubling. When Rose and her friend Nellie volunteer on the park-beautification committee to preserve the city waterworks, she meets the sympathetic chief engineer, Sean Parker, who becomes Patrick’s bitter rival over a controversial proposal to build an expensive water-filtration plant. Sean’s attracted to Rose and feels protective after she receives threatening letters and Nellie is killed under mysterious circumstances while wearing Rose’s cloak. Rose’s loyalty to Patrick wavers when he’s implicated in the typhoid epidemic. In alternating voices tinged with Victorian formality, Rose and Sean relate this story of duplicity, greed and contagion, adding immediacy to the twisted plot and historical detail. A gripping read with a feisty heroine, despite the wordy text, often purple prose and heavy focus on water treatment. (Historical fiction. 13 & up)