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by Billingsley, Franny

Publishers Weekly After too long of an absence, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper) returns with the quirky but rich tale of 17-year-old Briony, who is convinced that she's a witch. Not only is Briony responsible for her twin sister Rose's disabling fall from a swing years earlier, causing brain-damage, she also believes she caused her stepmother's death. The 20th century has arrived in backwater Swampsea, England, and with it such wonders as railroads, motorcars, and pumping stations to drain the bog. But the supernatural Old Ones are unhappy with technology and have sent a fever to punish the children of Swampsea, including Rose. Desperate to save her sister's life, Briony is torn between her painful belief in her own irredeemably evil nature and her attraction to handsome, newly arrived bad boy Eldric Clayborne. "How could I bear it, Eldric living with us, this non-child, this boy-man? I'd have to keep on my Briony mask.... I'd have to keep my tongue sharp and amusing. Already I was exhausted." Filled with eccentric characters-self-hating Briony foremost-and oddly beautiful language, this is a darkly beguiling fantasy. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Even as the Industrial Revolution has modernized much of England, belief in the Old Ones is still deeply rooted in the isolated Swampsea community. Convinced that she is a witch, 17-year-old Briony holds herself accountable for her stepmother's death and her twin's injury, until she is befriended by a handsome Londoner who helps her to see her world and herself in a new light. A lush, lyrical, romantic page-turner. (Mar.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Born precisely at midnight, that eldritch hour between one day and the next, Briony has always been a bit fey. But it isn't until her twin sister, Rose, is hurt while they are swinging together and her stepmother is tragically crippled in a freak accident that Briony comes to believe that she is a witch, doomed to end her life dangling from the hangman's noose. She only begins to hope that she might not be quite as wicked and damned as she had thought when she is befriended by a newcomer to the village, a beautiful boy with leonine grace and electric eyes. The magnificently dark romantic setting and lovely, lyrical language and imagery enhance a novel that is both lushly sensual and shivery. Billingsley's YA debut is a memorable one.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Since her stepmother's recent death, 17-year-old Briony Larkin knows that if she can keep two secrets that she is a witch and that she is responsible for the accident that left Rose, her identical twin, mentally compromised and remember to hate herself always, no other harm will befall her family in their Swampsea parsonage at the beginning of the twentieth century. The arrival of Mr. Clayborne, a city engineer, and his university-dropout son, Eldric, makes Briony's task difficult. Clayborne's plan to drain the swamp has made the Old Ones unhappy, particularly the Boggy Mun, who has plagued the village's children with swamp cough in retaliation. When Rose's lingering illness turns into a cough, Briony knows that she must do whatever it takes, even revealing her secrets, to save her sister. While thwarting the advances of an arsenic-addicted suitor, Briony must also deny her feelings for Eldric, even as he helps her solve the puzzle that has become her life. Exploring the powers of guilt and redemption, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper, 1999) has crafted a dark, chilling yet stunning world. Briony's many mysteries and occasional sardonic wit make her a force to be reckoned with. Exquisite to the final word.--Leeper, Angela Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.


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