I suppose the story of slightly-bratty, lonely Maud, an impoverished orphan taken in by a trio of mysterious old ladies is a tale that has no sex, little if any swearing and a child as a main character, but as often seems the case with well-written “young adult” books, the story and characters are engaging enough to please any adult willing to give it a go.
I recently spent a week at my family’s cabin in northern Minnesota, and my mom was kind enough to bring “Drowned” with her because she thought I’d like it. She was right–I loved Maud right from the start. She’s smart, but she reads like a real kid–cute at times, smart at times, naive often, kind at times and unduly harsh at others.
Not only did I read the book that week, but my grandmother and aunt read it too, and all of us had great fun with it.
A word to the wise, however: if you’re looking for this book on Amazon, every summary I’ve looked at has spoiled the chief surprise of the plot. Maud doesn’t initially know why the three elderly ladies have taken her in, and while I generally dislike surprises, in this case, I think the book would lose a bit of its impact if the reader wasn’t trying to figure it out along with Maud.
I definitely recommend the book, however. It reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, with a dash of childlike curiosity and enough historicity that the little details from the book’s 1908 setting shine.