Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting. Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.
Jennifer Murgia writes Young Adult Fantasy and Contemporary novels. She has long loved the dark and speculative--and it's from these dark places that she weaves fantastical stories, often hoping to find truth in them. She is the co-founder and coordinator of YAFest: an annual teen book festival in Easton, PA. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, her two children, and a very spoiled cat.
Sixteen-year-old Rune has been raised since birth by Matilde, the crone who lives in the cottage just beyond the Hedge that separates the village from the foreboding Schwarzwald. Until now, the Black Forest has protected Rune from the terrible events of the past. But those long-ago secrets-whispers of magic, witchcraft, and murder-soon replace the safety and comfort of the forest with menace and evil. The teen begins to hear her dead mother, rumored to be a powerful witch, speaking to her. And those murmurs are urging Rune to wreak havoc on the village and the people who burned her mother at the stake. Laurentz is the son of the Electrorate. A chance meeting with the protagonist reveals dark secrets in his own family. Certain he has been bewitched, Laurentz is no longer sure whom to trust. Murgia's dual narration makes this historical fantasy a compelling read. The plot-driven text quickly moves the story forward, and the vivid descriptions of 17th-century southwestern Germany pull readers in. Lead and supporting characters are a bit flat and two-dimensional, but the pacing and narrative are absorbing. A solid novel for fans of historical fantasy that are looking for a fast-paced, action-filled tale. -- Elaine Baran Black, Georgia Public Library Service, Atlanta -- School Library Journal