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O'Grady, Rohan.

Illustrated by Edward Gorey. Sag Harbor (N.Y.), Second Chance Press, c1962, 1983. 230pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-93325644-2. Distributed by Second Chance Press, R D. 2, Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor, N.Y. 11963.

Grades 5 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Cosstick

Volume 14 Number 1
1986 January

Take a generational family curse, situate it in a haunted castle on the edge of a cliff, tell the story from the viewpoint of eighteenth-century journals and trial transcripts, and you have an irresistible tale meant to be taken in one gothic gulp. Add stolen jewels, evil villains, secret passages, and best of all a youthful ghost, who flits as artfully through the centuries as the writer catches the reader in the web of intrigue.

The protagonist, a wretchedly deformed Canadian nuclear scientist, is the last of the Montrolfes. He returns to the home of his ancestors to find it occupied by a nonagenarian crone with a predilection to misplacing her teeth. Montrolfe goes through a journey back in time in search of the sprite Pippin, who captured his fancy as she had so many of his unhappy forebears. Most of the story is comprised of Pippin's diary, found of course in a secret drawer.

The author with the romantic name of Rohan O'Grady is, in fact, June Skinner of Port Coquitiam, British Columbia. Her book is fittingly illustrated by Edward Gorey's dusky line drawings. Second Chance Press, true to its name, has reissued The Curse of the Montrolfes, which was first published by Macmillan of New York in 1962. Any age from ten to top should be enchanted by this story.

Ruth Cosstick, Ottawa, Ont.
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