________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 18 . . . . May 10, 2002

cover The Witch in the Lake.

Anna Fienberg.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2002.
215 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-722-1 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-723-X (cl.).

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14.

Review by Christina Pike.

*** /4


""Papa,"he began in a rush, "I heard it last night. Down at the lake. There was a voice, a ghostly call. It was awful, Papa, it made you want to go there, find it, smash it or save it ... I felt as if it was calling me. But it scared me so I couldn't sleep. Don't you see, the only way we'll ever know is to go and seek it ourselves?"

"Enough!" Marco cried, slamming down his notebook. "There are laws, and you must obey them." .

The Witch in the Lake is a story set in a time of magic and witches. Leo's family has been disgraced by some mysterious event in the past, and Leo is desperate to find out the truth. When his best friend, Merilee, is sent away, Leo begins to try to unravel his family's secrets. He realizes that his past has something to do with the witch in the lake and the illness and disappearance of Laura, Merilee's older sister. When Leo's father gets ill, Leo desperately attempts to find Merilee and bring her home. To save his father, the village and himself, Leo must confront the witch and unlock all of the horrors of the past.

     The novel is set in the 1600's and brings to life the spirit of the Renaissance and the quest for knowledge. The character of Marco, Leo's father, is the epitome of the questioner as he searches for any and all references to man and how he is created. Leo, although just 14, is mature, and he has taken it upon himself to find out the truth about his family and the witch in the lake, a formidable task for someone so young. Leo is a character with whom the reader grows as he struggles through the challenges the truth thrusts upon him. The fantasy nature of the novel is believable because of the time in which it is set and the characters that are created. The Witch in the Lake is a refreshing novel which presents a glimpse into a period read about previously only in history books.


Christina Pike is a Learning Resource and English teacher at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts, NF.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364