Hemning Sternberg (moonshadow) wrote,
Hemning Sternberg

A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan

Title: A Gift of Magic
Author: Lois Duncan
Genre: Contemporary fantasy, children, Fiction
Pages: 215
Copyright Date: 1971
First Line: "Once upon a time in a house by the sea, lay an old woman, a special old woman who had the gift of magic."
Cover: Kind of classic seventies. A girl looks off into the distance and there is a landscape inside her head with a lotus, a mountain, and a geode in it. The font is very suggestive of fantasy.
Best part: Although the setting is modern, the story has a lovely fairy-tale quality to it.
Grade: B-
Recommended for: Folks who like YA or are curious about Duncan's early work.

I picked this book up because the name of the author, Lois Duncan, looked vaguely familiar to me. Amazon.com has since told me that that is because she wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer, Daughters of Eve, and other teenage thrillers that were popular when I was a teenager myself. This book came before those and is very different.

Changes are happening in the Garret family. The children thought they were just taking a nice vacation in their grandmother's house, but their parents are getting a divorce. They and their mother will be living in the seaside house for a long time. Brendon is excited about meeting boys his own age. Kirby is happy to be accepted into a special dance studio where she can pursue her love of ballet. But Nancy is not happy. She wants everything to be like it was. She fears coming changes that only she can see. Why is Nancy different?

This book has good prose, believable characters (and some of them aren't very nice, which I like in children's books) and a relatively realistic plot. It would make a good present for a child interested in psychic phenomena. It would also be a good read-aloud, I think. I will definitely want to read it again, though I'm not dying to read it again NOW, and thus it has earned its grade of B-.
Tags: books 2009, fiction
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