Take a fat, pimply adolescent artist named Hannah and her good friend Sam whose father is in jail. Mix in a bit of witchcraft, evil witchcraft that is, an antique carving of the Virgin and the Christ Child, a cathedral, theft, vandalism, and a few miracles. With a talented writer in charge, you come out with a mystery thriller for young teenagers and fantasy fans that’s absorbing, suspenseful, and entertaining.
I’m a little wary of books that feature witches. I tend toward the very old-fashioned, but biblical, idea that witchcraft is evil. Well, in this book, it is. And if the theology in the book is a bit works-oriented, the story is at least filled with Biblical allusions and a plot that honors goodness and charity rather than selfishness and greed. The characters include a good bishop, a young protagonist who does her best to love others in a Christlike way (even though she’s not sure she believes in God), and a repentant vandal who asks for forgiveness. The book is moderately frightening in a suspenseful sort of way, but it’s not horror filled or violent.
I think this book may be the first book published in 2007 that I’ve read; I found it on the “new books” shelf at the library. It was a fun story, and I’d recommend it for middle school readers, sixth through eighth grades.