Greenwitch

by Susan Cooper
ages: 10+
First sentence: “Only one newspaper carried the story in detail, under the headline: Treasures Stolen from Museum.”
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I found as I read this one last night, that I remembered it more than any of the others (save Dark is Rising). I think, upon reflection (such as it is right now), that it’s because Jane is the most crucial to the plot. She doesn’t do the most — that’s fairly equally distributed among the boys — but she is essential to the arc of the story in a way she wasn’t in Over Sea, Under Stone. And I liked that.

The Drew kids are back in Trewissick, mostly because the Grail (which they had found only the summer before) has been stolen. They know it’s the Dark that did it, because Merriman (or Great-uncle Merry; though Cooper stops calling him that about halfway through the book) is suddenly around again to solicit their help. Except this time, Will Stanton is along for the ride. There’s your usual twists and turns and adventures, but they all seemed a bit subdued (or was it me, reading this late at night?) compared to the previous two books. Barney gets captured by the Dark (again), Simon’s a bit bristly, Will is still his Old self (which puts both Barney and Simon off, the why of which I never quite figured out), Merriman still lurks and guides, and Jane — seemingly insignificant Jane — saves the day.

It’s partially up to Jane because the title character, the Greenwitch, is a local Cornish tradition that only women can participate in. And because of a wish Jane made, a nice unselfish wish (I could get into women’s roles here, and how it’s stereotypical for the girl to be unselfish, but I won’t; mostly because I’m not quite awake), she’s the one the Greenwich turns to, once the magic sets in.

It wasn’t as dull as I found Over Sea, Under Stone to be, mostly because it’s a lot thinner, and the plot moves more quickly. And, for some reason, because Will is mostly a side character here. I actually found I liked this book. And now, on to the next one.

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