A Spell Is Cast by Eleanor Cameron ; Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush
Boston : Little, Brown, and Co., 1964. Fifth printing. Hardcover. 271 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm. $3.95 dust jacket. A very good copy with minor tears to dust jacket edges. Binding is firm. Pages are clean and unmarked.
A SPELL IS CAST
By ELEANOR CAMERON
Illustrated by Beth and Joe Krush
Tarnhelm. The very name of the great old house on the cliffs beside the Pacific Ocean spells hope and mystery. Here, with Uncle Dirk and his mother, Cory Winterslow will surely find a home. But when she arrives from the East there is no one to meet her at the airport. The strange old woman who offers her a ride to Tarnhelm is prying, and the things she says about Uncle Dirk are disturbing. It is Peter, a resourceful neighbor boy, who leads Cory over treacherous cliffs to the door of Tarnhelm, and the Scottish care-takers, Fergie and Andrew, make her welcome.
Uncle Dirk had written wonderful letters, and he had invited her to stay at Tarnhelm. The little silver unicorn Cory wears around her neck is similar to the unicorns Uncle Dirk has carved. When Cory learns the truth about her uncle and grandmother, she feels her entire world crumbling about her.
Besides Fergie and Andrew, Cory has no friend but Peter. The strange music she hears in the night, the whispers of people in the town, and even the unicorns all weave a nightmare spell about Uncle Dirk and Grandmother that includes Cory, Laurel Woodford, the young woman on the beach, and Cory's stepmother. It is Cory who breaks the spell, with the little unicorn amulet as the key.
Eleanor Cameron weaves her own special enchantment as a storyteller. Readers of THE TERRIBLE CHURNADRYNE and THE MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS SHELL know it well.
ELEANOR CAMERON has a rare storytelling talent. The first of the MUSHROOM PLANET books, THE WONDERFUL FLIGHT TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET, was published in 1954 and immediately became a great success. It was followed by three more books about Chuck and David and their space ship, Mr. Bass and the little green people of Basidium.
With publication of THE TERRIBLE CHURNADRYNE, Mrs. Cameron developed two new characters, Tom and Jennifer, and a completely different kind of book. She wove a story around the rumors of a prehistoric beast that turned a quiet California seaside town into a bad dream. In THE MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS SHELL Tom and Jennifer again solved a mystery, this time about a missing letter.
All six of these earlier books, and her new one, A SPELL IS CAST, have been set in the Pacific coastal area of Carmel. This is the California country Mrs. Cameron loves best, where she spends vacations with her family. The redwoods, the fog, the wind-tortured trees and beautifully rugged coast are interwoven into all these books. In 1963 her fairy tale, THE BEAST WITH THE MAGICAL HORN, was published and Eleanor Cameron was launched into yet another form of storytelling. Mrs. Cameron lives in Los Angeles, where her husband works as a graphic arts consultant. Her son David is a student at Pomona College. She has published one adult novel, The Unheard Music.
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