Tor Teen. Oct. 2020. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250224736.
Gr 6-10–In 1907, Verity will be 18 soon, and her hope is to become a doctor like her father. With their mother long gone and her father in an asylum for the mentally ill, Verity and her 11-year-old sister Lilah are taken in by the Children’s Benevolence Society and put on an orphan train to Wheeler, AR, where their parents once lived. Lilah is taken in by the beloved town teacher, Miss Maeve, while Verity is taken in by an older couple who live on a farm near the woods. These woods contain a suspicious well where people have drowned, and many who live nearby know the story of Mary Mayhew, a young woman who became pregnant, lost her child, and died alone in the area. When Verity begins to see suspicious sights like children in the woods and a fire in the barn that isn’t there, she learns that Mary is connected to her family and to Miss Maeve, and that Miss Maeve will do anything to keep Lilah with her forever. Set in the early twentieth century, this is a solid choice for readers seeking historical fiction with paranormal elements. The plot moves at a suspenseful pace as readers learn how the characters are connected, and a romance with twists and turns develops between Verity and a boy named Abel. The characters are fully crafted, and the touches of magic include potions, candle tricks, and spells that tie people to places. Each plot point is tied up nicely to make for a bittersweet ending.
VERDICT An engaging historical novel with fantastical elements, this is a good fit for mid to large-sized collections, or where Southern settings circulate well.

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