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Witch Catcher    by Mary Downing Hahn order for
Witch Catcher
by Mary Downing Hahn
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Twelve-year-old Jen and her dad move to West Virginia where her dad's uncle left him an antique-filled house twenty miles from the nearest town. The house is called Mostyn Castle. They are both looking forward to the move. Jen's dad will now be able to give all his time to his career as an artist. Jen plans to explore the house, the nearby tower, and the woods.

When Jen discovers her dad has met a woman there and has been seeing her on his trips to get the house ready for their move, she is jealous. She has had her father to herself since her mother died. Her dad met Moura, an antique dealer, when she came to assess the antiques left by his uncle. When Jen meets Moura, she detests her and unfortunately allows Moura see her dislike. She is alarmed at the influence Moura has over her dad.

Moura is interested in finding a translucent globe that she calls the Witch Catcher. Jen finds the globe first and hides it in her room. Jen has no intention of turning this beautiful bauble over to Moura to sell to a collector.

Her dad soon invites Moura to move into the house while she does an inventory of the furnishings and paintings. The longer Moura stays the more cut off Jen feels from her father. She can feel him slipping away. His detachment makes Jen unsure of his support when Moura suggests changes.

Mary Downing Hahn's suspenseful gothic tale is full of witches, fairies, and magic. Jen often finds it hard to tell who is evil and who she should befriend.

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