Seventeen-year-old Evangeline is about to discover what is different about her. She has had suspicions all along, but it is not until an aunt she never knew about turns up that her life tumbles into an adventure.
Now, she is in the northern wood… a place where nothing is as it seems, where the ancient house of Dragonspire shifts its rooms around, and an unknown evil lurks nearby. All she wants are answers to her questions.
If she is not a witch, what is she? What is the creature that continues to follow her to and from school? Why has her mother never told her about her aunt until now? Has the great inventor, Nikola Tesla, anything to do with it? And most of all, what is really in the northern woods?
Speculative Fiction with a Christian slant. I originally read a secular
series and thought, “Why is it all the secular readers get to have so
much fun?” But I also was disappointed in some of the occult influences
in the books.
My idea was to introduce magic into Christian Fiction, through a premise that magic is tied in to Biblical principles and Spiritual Gifts. Often, the talents these characters have are extensions of our responsibilities as Believers… in the case of Thornewicke, a young woman chosen as a Guardian against evil in a very specific way and place. There are two kinds of magic in this book – the magic that comes from the Creator in her role as a Guardian, and sorcery used by the forces of evil.
This is the first in a series of books set in different time periods, with different historical backdrops and characters, revolving around Spiritual Gifts. There will be occasional cross-overs but each book will stand alone, united only through its theme of spirituality and the fantastical. As the series progresses, you will meet Influencers, Seers, Prophets, Discerners, Peacemakers, Healers, Sirens, and many others. There are layers of religious symbolism for the reader who chooses to search for it; none of it was intended but God has a way of poking His nose into my business and forcing me, through my own writing, to confront the things I struggle with as a believer. The books, I hope, are never overtly preachy but they are distinctly Christian, in many instances with pastors in the top tier of characters.
He’s watching me.
I assume it’s a him. I don’t know for sure.
But he’s in the thicket by the gate.
At first, he watched me from a distance. Then, he started to follow me to and from school. Now, he’s in our hedge.
The wind rustles the leaves overhead. I feel things growing all around me. The light fades. I pick up my book and shawl and start toward the house. I pause and glance back. For the first time, I see his face… a wrinkled, twisted, deformed, inhuman, beady-eyed knob of a face. The hair on the back of my neck stands up.
Mother’s shoes click on the path. “What are you looking at?”
I point but he’s gone. Branches sway in his absence.
“Did you see it again?”
Shivering, I say, “I saw him again.”
“Tomorrow, you’re taking the buggy to school.”
In three weeks, it’ll be the end of term at my stuffy school. Freedom is within my grasp! Unfortunately, Lydia Pratt arrives with a cold. By noon, half the students are sneezing. I’m determined not to be sick. I refuse to be sick! I won’t miss any of my classes and be held back!
The rest of the week, I pretend not to have a sore throat. I manage to fool Mother for several days. On the morning when my illness is most evident in my bleary expression and pounding head, I slip out before she can see me. I sit through history class and hear nothing the professor says. The room spins. Halfway down the hall, I feel for the nearest wall. The floor rises toward me and my eyes roll back in my head.
I wake up in the headmistress’ office. “I’ve sent for your mother,” she says.
“No, please… I’m fine,” I argue.
“You are not fine.”
Mother tucks me into bed and sends for a doctor. He presses a hand to my wrist and stares at his pocket watch. “It’s a head cold. She’ll be up and about in a week or so.”
“But I have exams!” I wail.
He pockets the watch. “They’ll wait.”
It’s not a head cold. It’s bronchitis. I’ve had it before, and nothing is changed: I still hallucinate. Monsters, demons, and ghosts ripple out of the walls and torment me, reducing me to screams and whimpers as Mother tries to calm me down. I can’t tell illusion from reality and have the same nightmare several times. I run through the woods, stumbling, tripping over loose roots, batting branches out of my face.
When the illness fades, Mother sits at my bedside, her hand in mine. “How long has it been?” I croak.
“I’m not going to tell you, you’ll just fret over missing class.”
All I want to do is sleep, but I groan. “I’ll fall behind!”
“Everyone is sick, so exams are postponed until next week.”
“Stay in bed until you’re strong enough to walk on your own,” Mother tells me two days later, piling a stack of books on my nightstand. “Call for the maid or me if you need anything.”
Rising on the pillows, I frown. “I can get up!”
“No, you can’t. Stay where you are.”
The pile of books is finished in short order. Kicking off the covers, I put my feet on the floor. The house is quiet. I’m weak and my progress down the hall to our library is slow. As I pass the door of my father’s study, I hear his voice. He’s never at home during the early afternoon and I lean forward to listen.
“I’m sure there’s no reason for concern. It’s just a dream.”
Heaviness settles in the pit of my stomach and my pulse quickens. Mother’s response is a murmur and I press my ear to the door. I hear my father ask, “What if we don’t tell her?”
“I suspect she already knows.”