Shakespeare's Secret

Shakespeare's Secret

by Elise Broach

Paperback(First Edition)

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Starting sixth grade at a new school is never easy, especially when your name is Hero. Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, Hero isn't at all interested in this literary connection. But when she's told by an eccentric neighbor that there might be a million dollar diamond hidden in her new house and that it could reveal something about Shakespeare's true identity, Hero is determined to live up to her name and uncover the mystery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312371326
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 08/21/2007
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 156,801
Product dimensions: 7.62(w) x 5.18(h) x 0.74(d)
Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 15 Years

About the Author

Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of books for children and young adults, including Desert Crossing and Masterpiece, as well as several picture books. She lived in England from the ages of twelve to fourteen and vividly remembers her first visit to William Shakespeare's house in Stratford-upon-Avon. At a rare-book store there, she purchased a volume of Shakespeare's plays that she still keeps on her nightstand. Ms. Broach holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University. She was born in Georgia and lives in the woods of rural Connecticut, walking distance from three farms, a library, a post office and two country stores.

Read an Excerpt

Shakespeare's Secret

By Elise Broach

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2005 Elise Broach
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-312-37132-6


It was the last day of summer. Hero Netherfield stretched across the quilted bedspread in her sister's room, her feet drifting over the edge of the mattress. She wasn't thinking about their new house. She wasn't thinking about school. She wasn't thinking about stepping off the bus tomorrow into a sea of strangers. If she thought about any of those things, she'd get that old, tight, panicky feeling — and what was the point?

So instead, she rested her cheek against the soft cotton and breathed. The air was thick with summer smells: lawn clippings and suntan lotion and late-blooming roses. She could hear the distant shouts of a tag game down the street. She closed her eyes and made her mind completely blank, as heavy and blank as the summer day.

It took a lot of concentration. Too much. After a minute, she rolled on her side and said to her sister, "You got the best room."

Beatrice's room in the new house was full of angles and alcoves, like Hero's, but it was bigger, with more windows. Beatrice had hung posters on the sloping ceiling, and they floated colorfully overhead, like the inside flaps of a circus tent.

Her sister sat at the desk with one foot propped on an open drawer. She painted her toenails with quick, smooth strokes. "So?" she said. "It was my turn."

That was true. They took turns choosing bedrooms every time they moved, and Hero had chosen first at the house in New York.

"You have a good room, too," Beatrice said. "You just need to put stuff up on the walls."

"Yeah, I know." Hero sighed. But what? She'd finally opened the moving boxes from her old bedroom yesterday. They were filled with stuffed animals, seashells, crunched wildlife posters, all the things she'd collected since she was five. She wasn't sure she even recognized that person anymore. None of it belonged in the room of a sixth-grader. A little wistfully, she'd packed it all up again and shoved the boxes in one of the closets under the eaves. That was the strange thing about moving so often. It forced you to think about starting over every time, whether you wanted to or not.

The only things Hero kept out for her new room were her books and a shoe box of antique bottles she'd found at a garage sale, colorful glass vials that once held medicine, hair tonic, maybe perfume. The books she wedged into the dark corner bookcases, stacking a pile of favorites next to her bed. The bottles she arranged in a cluster on the window seat, thinking about all the places they must have been, all the hands that must have held them. She liked the way they caught the sunlight and scattered soft shadows of green and lavender on the floor. But the walls themselves were still completely bare. Hero couldn't think of anything to hang on them.

She rolled onto her stomach and covered her face with her hands. "I can't believe that school starts tomorrow."

"Me neither." Beatrice fanned her toenails. "But maybe it won't be so bad this time."

"It never is bad for you, Triss."

Sometimes it amazed Hero that she and her sister were actually part of the same family. When she was little, she used to suspect she was adopted, an idea that struck her as both upsetting and exotic — and somehow much easier to believe than the truth.

Beatrice was tall and pretty, with wavy reddish hair and an open, sunny face. She always seemed about to smile, if she wasn't already smiling. Hero, on the other hand, was small and dark. Without meaning to, she wore a worried look much of the time. At the grocery store or the mall, complete strangers would touch her arm and ask sympathetically, "What's the matter, honey? Don't you feel well?"

At school tomorrow, Hero knew exactly what would happen. After a brief sizing-up, Beatrice would be swept into a throng of would-be friends, girls who'd show her the restrooms, save her a place in the cafeteria, share their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. They'd admire her hair, they'd compliment her nail polish. By the end of tomorrow — even though it was only her first day — Beatrice would fit in. Her plans for the weekend would include half the eighth grade.

For Hero, it would be a different story entirely. She'd still be the new kid months from now. She flinched when she thought of what lay ahead: figuring out the lockers, the right clothing to wear, the acceptable food to pack for lunch. Every school had its own customs and fashions, and if she wanted to blend in, she never had long to find out what they were. It was such hard work, Hero thought: that constant, draining effort to slip into the crowd unnoticed. "Blending in" was completely different than "fitting in." It was the difference between camouflaging yourself in the forest and actually being one of the trees.

"Oh, come on, Hero," Beatrice said. "Maryland is almost the South. People seem friendlier here." She laughed suddenly. "Besides, last year everything worked out okay. You had Kate and Lindsey"

"Ugh!" Hero made a face. "Kate and Lindsey. That was totally not worth it."

Kate and Lindsey had been her friends in fifth grade. They had identical blond ponytails and high-pitched, unstoppable squeals. Hero had nothing in common with them. It still amazed her that they'd ended up spending so much of the last year together. It was a relationship based purely on need. Kate and Lindsey, struggling not to fail Language Arts, had needed a third person to help with their Greek myths skit. They chose Hero, who ended up writing the whole play while the two of them huddled together and whispered about their one consuming interest, a boy named Jeremy Alexander. They stalked Jeremy throughout the school day (without ever actually talking to him) and then spent hours in endless, inconclusive conversations about whether he even knew they existed.

In return for putting up with this, Hero found herself with a lifeline of sorts. She had someone to sit with at lunch, to hang out with at recess, and to join for team activities in gym. Of course, if the game ever called for partners, it was understood that the pair would be Kate and Lindsey, and Hero would be on her own.

"They were awful," Beatrice said, still laughing. "Remember how obsessed they were with that boy?"

"Remember? That was my life." Hero raised her voice several octaves. "He looked at me! Did not! Did too! In Social Studies! Sideways or did he turn his whole head? Whole head! No way!"

Beatrice mimicked their earsplitting scream. "Remember how Dad always used to forget Lindsey's name?" she asked.

Hero smiled. "He called them 'Kate and the other Kate.' How could he forget a regular name like Lindsey?"

Beatrice shrugged. "It didn't come from Shakespeare."

Hero and Beatrice were both named for characters in the play Much Ado About Nothing, thanks to the English literature class where their parents met in college. Naturally, Beatrice had gotten the familiar name, one that lent itself to bouncy nicknames like Trixie, or Bea, or Triss. Hero's name was inevitably misunderstood, questioned, and laughed at. For several months at the last school, one of her teachers had called her Nero.

Of course, she hadn't told her parents that. Her mother loved Shakespeare, but her father actually lived it. It was his job. For as long as Hero could remember, he'd been reading, studying, and writing about Shakespeare. When she was little, she used to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of his voice floating through the darkness. She would pad through the sleeping house to find him, usually at the dining-room table, hunched over the wings of a book, reading out loud. He would always let her listen for a while before he carried her back to bed. The words didn't make any sense — Hero never understood what was happening — but the language was musical and full of feeling. She liked sitting in the dim room and hearing the rhythm of it.

Her father's years in graduate school and a string of teaching and research jobs had taken them from Illinois to Massachusetts to New York, and finally here to Maryland, where he would be working as an archivist at the Maxwell Elizabethan Documents Collection in Washington, D.C. When the whole family had visited the library last week, Hero thought its stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings made it look like a cathedral. It was filled with books and long, shining wood tables. There were glass cases everywhere, which held old, curling brown manuscripts.

"Dad seems to love that Maxwell place," she said to Beatrice. "And everybody there looks just like him. Sort of rumpled and tweedy."

"Yeah," Beatrice said. "Even the women have beards. It's perfect for him."

It was amazing to think of a place that was perfect for their father. He was so weird, and not just in the way all parents were weird. He used words like "Fie" and "tetchy," and he could quote long passages from Shakespeare by heart. He never did the things that other dads did, like play golf or watch football on TV. He had no idea how to grill a steak. But Beatrice was right: Compared to the rest of the staff at the Maxwell, he seemed normal.

"Do you think that's how it is for everybody?" Hero asked. "Do you think even the weirdest people seem normal if you put them in the right place?"

Beatrice thought for a minute. "Are you talking about Dad or yourself?"

Hero grabbed the pillow and hurled it at her, almost knocking over the nail polish.

"Hey!" Beatrice said. "I was just kidding. Relax, school will go fine tomorrow. You worry too much."

Hero shook her head. "No, I don't. When you're me, it's not possible to worry too much."

At that moment, their mother appeared in the doorway. She was holding a large pair of pruning shears, and her cheeks were streaked with sweat. From the expression on her face, they could tell she'd been listening.

"Well," she said to Hero, "I suppose if you worry too much, you'll always be pleasantly surprised."

Hero's mother was the kind of steady cheerful person who was determined to find hidden advantages in the most unlikely situations. She did graphic design work, mostly freelance because they moved so often, and she knew all the differences between typefaces with funny names like Garamond and Desdemona. Even in her work, she never seemed to have a bad day. Sometimes Hero longed for her to be bored and depressed just so they'd have something in common.

"Please, Hero," her mother said. "Don't spend the whole day feeling sorry for yourself. It's beautiful outside. Do me a favor and run these clippers back to Mrs. Roth."

"Aw, Mom," Hero protested. Mrs. Roth was the old woman who lived next door. Hero had seen her outside in her overgrown garden, but she'd never spoken to her. "I don't even know her. Make Triss do it."

"No, I want you to do it. This will be a chance for you to get to know her." Her mother leaned the shears against the doorjamb and disappeared down the hallway.

For a minute longer, Hero lay staring at the ceiling, at the cracks and water stains, and at the old glass light fixture with its pattern of vines and flowers. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see that Beatrice was now painting her fingernails, brushing shimmering layers of pink over each one.

"What color is that?" she asked indifferently "'Ballet Slipper.' Do you like it?"

"I guess."

"Want to try it?" Beatrice brightened. "I could give you a makeover."

Hero rolled her eyes. Beatrice had a book called The Sum of Your Parts that was full of advice on how to highlight your best features. According to Beatrice, Hero's best features were her dark eyes and her long brown hair. They were just begging to be accentuated in a makeover.

"No way," Hero said, sliding to her feet. "Then I'll look totally different tomorrow, and the next day when I look like myself, everyone will go, 'Ew! What happened to her?'" She picked up the pruning shears. "Besides, it's the last day of summer vacation and apparently Mom wants me to spend it with a total stranger."

Sighing, she tripped lightly down the stairs, flung open the screen door, and stepped into the blaze and trill of the summer day.


Mrs. Roth's house was a yellow cottage with peeling paint, a wide porch, and a dense, colorful front garden. There were flowers everywhere, clusters of roses, bright pockets of marigolds, petunias, geraniums, snapdragons. But the flowers tumbled out of a mound of weeds and thistles. Hero picked her way gingerly along the flagstone walk, the hard metal pruning shears banging her leg. She hesitated in front of the porch steps, eyeing the thick shrubbery on either side. It almost blocked her path. Why, she wondered, had her mother even thought to ask Mrs. Roth for pruning shears? It didn't look like they'd ever been used in this yard.

"Mrs. Roth?" Hero called out, hoping to avoid actually knocking on the door. Maybe she could just leave the clippers on the porch. She didn't particularly want to be drawn into a conversation, or, worse yet, invited inside. She never felt comfortable around old people. She didn't like their papery skin, or the way they always launched into long, pointless anecdotes.

To her dismay, Hero heard footsteps approaching the door.

"I brought back your pruning shears," she called, dropping the clippers on the porch. "Thanks a lot."

She turned and started to jog back over the flagstones, but the door swung open and a voice called out, "You're very welcome. Tell your mother she may borrow them anytime."

Hero answered over her shoulder, "Okay thanks, I will."

She was almost to the gate when she realized unhappily that the old woman was coming down the front steps into the garden.

"Now, let's see ... are you the younger daughter?" Mrs. Roth asked.

Defeated, Hero turned around. She walked back a few paces and awkwardly held out her hand.

"Yes," she said. "I'm Hero."

Mrs. Roth stood in the middle of her unkempt garden, thin and strangely elegant looking. Hero noticed that she wore a long-sleeved blouse and trousers despite the sticky heat. Her hand was cool and she shook Hero's firmly. She had short silver hair cropped closely around her face, and her blue eyes were full of friendly interest.

"Hero. Yes, of course. Your sister is Beatrice, isn't she? Much Ado About Nothing. Hero's a lovely name. 'Who can blot that name with any just reproach?'"

She's as weird as Dad, Hero realized.

Mrs. Roth smiled. "It's from the play. You've read it, haven't you?"

Hero shook her head. "Uh, no."

Of course that's what people always assumed, since she was the daughter of a Shakespeare expert. But she'd never read any of the plays herself. Never wanted to. That was her father's specialty As far as Hero was concerned, it belonged to him completely. In families, things seemed to get sorted out that way. It was like choosing tokens in a board game. Her father got Shakespeare. Beatrice got popularity. Her mother got good humor. You could never have two people share the same token. That would be too confusing.

But Mrs. Roth looked disappointed. "Oh, you must read it, it's wonderful. Of course, Beatrice is the stronger character, witty and resourceful. Hero's just a pretty fluff. But she is honorable. That's the point. And it's an excellent name to live up to."

"I guess." Hero looked away uncertainly. "Well, I'd better get going."

"Why don't you take some flowers with you? I have so many. They could stand to be cut back a bit."

"Oh, that's okay." Hero could see that Mrs. Roth was already walking purposefully toward the house.

"I'll just fetch a pair of scissors. You'll have to cut them yourself, if you don't mind. My arthritis keeps me from doing much gardening, I'm afraid."

Hero shifted from one foot to the other, trying to think of some excuse that would justify a speedy exit.

But a minute later, Mrs. Roth returned with the scissors. She directed Hero toward the roses. "I'm Miriam, by the way."

Hero couldn't imagine ever calling her that, but she tried to smile politely. She drew back the prickly stems and began clipping the rosebushes, tossing the heavy blossoms on the walkway. Mrs. Roth hovered behind her and gathered the flowers into a loose bouquet.

"Has school started yet?" she asked.

"No," Hero said. "Tomorrow."

"And what grade are you entering?"

"Sixth. Beatrice is in eighth."

"It must be difficult for you, adjusting to a new school."

Hero snorted at the understatement before she caught herself. "Yeah, it is, sometimes. But I guess I'll find out tomorrow."


Excerpted from Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach. Copyright © 2005 Elise Broach. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Shakespeare's Secret 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently found this book in my bookshelf and remembered how much i love it. I reread it and found that it was still wonderfully entertaining. This novel tells the story of hero, an elevn year old girl who has been the new kid all too may times. Her father is shakespeare obsessed, so hero and her sister beatrice were named for characters in the play much ado about nothing. With a name like hero its hard to make friends, so hero finds herself drawn to an elderly neighbor who tells her about a diamond many people believe is hidden in heros house. With the help of danny cordova, the cutest boy in the eighth grade, hero sets out to search for the lost murphy diamond. With strong characters, an interesting plot, and sweet, unpretentious morals, this is the perfect book for middle schoolers.
Chris365 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. The story of hero and her troubles in her new town, making friends, dealing w/ her parents and sister and most of all, uncovering a hidden mystery.
eduscapes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy mysteries based in historical fact or speculation. This book was particularly appealing because it provides a great incentive to young people to dive into the works of Shakespeare. Like the books by Blue Balliet (Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 2), the book engages young people in a local mystery. Unfortunately, the books don't have the depth of Balliet's characters or plot. On the other hand, Shakespeare's Secret could be suggestion for Balliet fans.
mbjuvholds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd have liked this book a lot more if it weren't promoting the theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is the true author of William Shakespeare's plays. As a staunch Stratfordian, I just found it hard not to cringe whenever the Oxfordian theory was brought up! Still, it's a great mystery story and I do appreciate the fact that it incorporates Shakespeare's works and Elizabethan history into the plot.
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero and her sister, Beatrice, are named after characters in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. When Hero meets Mrs. Roth, her next door neighbor, she learns about a missing diamond that may be hidden somewhere in her new house. So many of the people and the events in the story are intertwined. Hero, Danny, and Mrs. Roth work together to uncover the history of the missing jewel and some possible clues to the identity of the "real" Shakespeare.I really enjoyed this page turner and liked that the themes of the Shakespeare plays were carried out in the modern-day narrative as well.
kthomp25 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero and her older, pretty sister, Beatrice are named for characters in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Teased about her name, she has a hard time fitting in all the new schools her Dad's job, a Shakespeare expert, takes her to. In her newest home, she makes friend with a single, older lady next door, Mrs. Roth, who sparks her interest about Shakespeare when she shares with her the story of the people who lived in her house before she did. The woman was a descendant of Edward de Vere, who some scholars think is the real Shakespeare. Along the way, another mystery unfolds involving a popular boy at school who turns out to be a friend of Mrs. Roth's and who gets involved with Hero in a search for a diamond rumored to be hidden in her house.
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shakespeare's Secret is a fun read. In my opinion, that's the most important thing for a kids book.The characters are interesting. I identified with Hero, the 6th grade girl who never quite fits in anywhere. I suspect most preteen girls will understand that feeling as well. I never had as cool of an adventure, as she does, though!Hero and her older sister Beatrice move into a house with a mystery. Hero finds out about the diamond rumored to be hidden somewhere in it from the elderly next door neighbor, and sets out to find it. She runs into Danny, a very cool 8th grader, at her neighbor's house and he joins in the hunt.Along the way, Hero learns about the necklace the rumored diamond comes from, which leads to some historical research and discovery. I think that the nuggets of information about Anne Boleyn, Edward de Vere, and about Shakespeare in general will whet the appetite of readers, so when they run into more in depth discussions elsewhere they will be more likely to pay attention.The other thread of the storyline has to do with Hero starting at a new school, and (once again) being teased due to her name. Beatrice (as usual) has a much easier time. There is some interesting insight into what is needed to fit in, and further, to be popular, and the tradeoffs involved.I think this book will appeal to girls and some boys from ages 10-12 or so.
cbaybooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
excellent book -- on of the best kid mysteries around
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero dreads starting at a new school again. She's never been popular like her sister Beatrice and she knows that the first day will be the worst. This first day is the worst she's ever had. When introduced to her new class, a girl in the class blurts out that her dog's name is Hero. Henceforth, Hero is known as the girl named after a dog. With no friends at school, Hero begins spending time with her neighbor Mrs. Roth who is telling her about the mystery of the large diamond that is suspected to be hidden in the house that Hero's family moved into. Hero just knows that the diamond is still in the house and she begins to look for it. Mrs. Roth has some clues that point to the diamond once belonging to Anne Boelyn and the two begin to piece together the history behind the diamond and its possible connection to Shakespeare. I don't normally like mysteries, but I found this one very intriguing. There are clues that Hero and Mrs. Roth find out that lead to the solution to the mystery. There are also interesting facts about Anne Boelyn and the theory that another man might actually be the author of Shakespeare's plays. The author includes a length note about these facts that explains what was fictional and what was true.
cpotter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero, a sixth is named after a character in a Shakespearean play. She is uninterested in the dusty old author and her name connection until she is told that a million-dollar diamond is hidden in her new house. There seems to be a connection between Shakespeare and the diamond. Not to mention Danny Cordova, the most popular boy at school is interested in helping Hero solve the mystery and uncover the diamond.
drebbles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Named after a character in William Shakespeare¿s ¿Much Ado About Nothing¿, Hero has been teased about her name her whole life and expects more of the same when she starts sixth grade at a new school in a new city. She does indeed get teased, but things aren¿t quite as bad as she expected as she starts to make friends both young and old. Not only that but she finds herself in the middle of a mystery ¿ there may be a diamond hidden somewhere in her house ¿ a diamond that may hold the key to Shakespeare¿s true identity.¿Shakespeare¿s Secret¿ is a novel for children ages 9 ¿ 12 that works well on several levels. Author Elise Broach has created a great lead character in Hero Netherfield ¿ a sixth grader who is very unsure of herself and feels that she lives in the shadow of her older sister Beatrice. Hero is a very real, if flawed, character, as she is sometimes her own worst enemy. Broach doesn¿t sugar coat anything ¿ the bullying Hero faces is very real and her friend Danny does some questionable acts. While the main mystery does involve the missing diamond (and it is fun to read as Hero and Danny search for the diamond), there is a secondary mystery involving Danny which is interesting, if a little bit too conveniently wrapped up. Mixed in with all of this are little lessons about Shakespeare and history that are so nicely woven into the story that young readers may not even realize they are learning something along the way.¿Shakespeare¿s Secret¿ is not only a good mystery, but a good novel about a young girl who not only learns about Shakespeare, but how to deal with bullying, and what friendship is all about. Well done.
yamatos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While Hero juggles the pressure of being the new kid.She finds her and the most popular kid in school, Danny, in the middle of a big mystery involving Hero's house.
ASBiskey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Comparisons have been made between this book and the adventures of Petra and Calder in the books by Blue Balliett. Having enjoyed those books, I was looking forward to reading Shakespear's Secret.Hero, the protagonist of the story, is beginning sixth grade. Elise Broach has written a believable character that reflects many of the atitudes that I see in my own sixth grade daughter and her friends. The story written around her, however, seems more appropriate for a character a couple years older. The story seems to come together without any significant sense of peril, and all the pieces fit almost too well. The hopeful but trite ending seems to simple, requiring little from the reader. I will encourage my 12 and 9 year old daughters to read this. It was an enjoyable book. I just felt it failed to live up to the potential in the story.
cornpuff12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero moves into a new house in a new town. She soon finds out that her house has an unsolved mystery connected to it. She solves it with the help of a neighbor that she stumbles upon the day before school starts.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful children's fictional mystery story based on historical facts - along the same lines as Blue Balliett's Chasing Vermeer.
mdtwilighter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good book about the mystery behind Shakespeare's true identity. It reminded me of Chasing Vermeer.
johnlobe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shakespeare's Secret is a well told mystery that intertwines historical details related to Shakespeare with interesting characters. Broach brings these elements together successfully. A window into Elizabethan England is given which helps move the plot forward in a natural way. A historical timeline of relevant events is a fun inclusion.
RefPenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero has changed school again and, once again she is having trouble fitting in and making friends. When she meets her neighbour, Mrs Roth, she discovers that there may be a valuable diamond hidden in their new house. She soon gets caught up in unravelling the mystery of the diamond and finds that she has a new friend - popular Danny Cordova - keen to help her.
Golijanin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hero Nertherfield moves with her parents and older sister from New York to Maryland due to her father¿s new job. She is scared of thinking that after a weekend is gone she will start grade six in new school. Her sister Beatrice is the total opposite of her, always being a popular girl and making new friends easily. After returning from the first day at school where she was teased for her unusual name, Hero meets her neighbor, an older lady called Miriam Roth. Hero enjoys her conversation with Mrs. Roth who has a calm voice. She is intrigued with the story of a hidden diamond. While solving crosswords at Miriam¿s porch, Hero hears about the large diamond being somewhere in her house or yard. The diamond was a pendant of an antique necklace that belonged to the previous house owners, the Murphys, who left the necklace to Mrs. Roth after Mrs. Murphy died. Having some clues, Hero decides to search for the large yellow diamond that costs a fortune. Mrs. Roth, Danny Cordova, Danny: a boy who goes to the same school as Hero, and her sister Beatrice, help her in this quest. Danny¿s dad is a chief of police who investigated the case and never doubted that the Murphys faked a break-in for stealing the diamond. The circumstances involving Hero¿s father¿s studies and his life¿s written work on Shakespeare, helps her to solve the puzzles of the necklace¿s history. The journey of getting the diamond to the right place brings Hero¿s family together creating valuable friendship, which were more worth then the price of the necklace.
DawnFechter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grades 5-7 Middle School. Moving to a new town Hero and her older sister must again start a new school and make new friends. Hero and Beatrice who are named for the Characters in Shakespeare¿s play Much Ado about Nothing. Hero must face a new school and deal with the jokes about her name. Hero does not make friends easily and her name does not help. Hero does befriend a neighbor Mrs. Roth who tells her about the Murphy diamond which may be hidden in her house! Hero is befriended by Danny who is also curious if the diamond is in Hero¿s house. Hero and Mrs. Roth discover a connection between Anne Boleyn and Shakespeare and the diamond. The diamond may prove Edward de Vere was the son of Queen Elizabeth and the true Shakespeare. Is the diamond hidden in Hero¿s house? Will she find it? Will Hero find a way to make friends?? What will she do with the diamond?
MSLMC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the first day of Sixth grade, in a new to town, Hero is teased about her name being the same as a classmate's dog, so instead of trying to make friends with kids at school, she strikes up a friendship with her elderly neighbor and is quickly embroiled in a mystery to find a million dollar diamond. The characters are well developed and the mystery is just complex enough to draw the reader in. My favorite part is how Broach connects the local mystery to a real life historical mystery. This might entice young readers to do some additional reading into the Shakespeare/de Vere debate.
mrsarey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great mystery involving a girl named Hero and her attempt to find a diamond hidden somewhere in her house. Along the way, Hero discovers that she is more than a nothing- she is worthy of her name.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not stop reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book for a school project. I found it pointless, boring, and a little hard to follow. As a middle school boy I found it very hard to relate to the themes. I do not recommend this book unless you like mysteries that are about a girl solving her own personal problems and a mystery about Shakespeare.