The Coven's Daughter

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Overview

Cecily may have occasional visions, but that doesnt' make her a witch! Fatherless and without friends, Cess knows she's lucky to be employed by a grand estate like Montacute House, even if it is as a poultry girl.

On her thirteenth birthday, Cess finds a precious locket in one of her chicken coops, a strange discovery that's quickly overshadowed by her best friend William's disappearance two days later. The parson has already started planting ...

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The Coven's Daughter

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Overview

Cecily may have occasional visions, but that doesnt' make her a witch! Fatherless and without friends, Cess knows she's lucky to be employed by a grand estate like Montacute House, even if it is as a poultry girl.

On her thirteenth birthday, Cess finds a precious locket in one of her chicken coops, a strange discovery that's quickly overshadowed by her best friend William's disappearance two days later. The parson has already started planting rumors that the missing boys were bewitched, and the villagers think Cecily may be the culprit.

The only way Cess can prove her innocence is by finding William, but she's soon embroiled in a plot that threatens her world and forces her to draw upon powers she never knew she possessed.

Witchcraft, politics and intrigue combine in this gripping and wonderfully realized novel set in the Somerset of the 1500s.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Haley Maness
All her life, Cess has been able to see the future through her dreams, but has learned to keep this talent to herself, for fear of getting ridiculed. She feels she gets ridiculed enough because she never knew her father and chooses not to act like a lady, but instead does all of the dirty farm work required around her home. This makes her unappealing to all but one of the young men in the village: her best friend, William. When a young boy from a faraway village is found dead of what looks to be the plague, the whole town goes on a hunt for the witch responsible. Then, when William disappears as well, Cess is blamed and decides to prove her innocence, until she gets the power of witching bestowed upon her by her old friend Edith. Cess has difficulty coping with the consequences of being a witch, but also feels that it is her destiny. It is difficult to tell if this book is a spoof of the growing popularity of this genre, of if the author honestly believes that readers will enjoy this cliche and formulaic novel. Reviewer: Haley Maness
ALAN Review - Erica Cain
As a bastard child living in the late 1500s, Cecily Perryn is proud of her job as poultry girl at the grand Montacute House, even though she is shunned by most of her village, except for her best friend William. On her 13th birthday, Cess discovers a mysterious locket in the poultry house just as the villagers discover the dead body of a young man from a neighboring village. During that night, William goes missing, and Cess knows she must save William to prove her innocence before the townspeople begin a witch hunt. Through this adventure, Cess becomes entangled in an intriguing plot to murder Queen Elizabeth and restore Catholicism to power in England. But more important, Cess discovers the origins of her own family and must confront her own witch heritage. Jago's novel is intended for older readers that can analyze serious topics, such as illegitimacy, witchcraft, and violence. Reviewer: Erica Cain
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Cecily Perryn expects to celebrate the morning of her 13th birthday collecting eggs in the dirty barnyard of Montacute House, where she is in service to Sir Edward Mortain. She doesn't expect to find a jeweled portrait necklace under one of the laying hens or to come to the attention of Viscount Drax Mortain, the master's son. The historical aspects of the story are well researched and firmly rooted in Elizabethan history (Visitors can tour the house and many of the places mentioned in the story.) Interwoven with the historical details are the stories of Cess's friend William and other village boys who have disappeared, and Cess's friendship with Edith and Alathea, two women who are known to be involved in witchcraft. Jago keeps a variety of story lines moving: William's whereabouts, Drax's plotting, family secrets, scheming cousins, hidden passages, coded lists of spies, and a conspiracy to poison the queen. When Edith and Alathea acknowledge Cess's magical powers and initiate her into the covey, she finds herself facing choices that will mean life or death for those she loves. The final chapters answer questions, tie up loose threads, and leave Cess contemplating a future inside Montacute House instead of in the barnyard. Some readers will find that the story gets bogged down in the period details, but it will appeal to fans of historical romance (if they don't mind some fantasy overtones).—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews

Cecily Perryn, 13, a lowly poultry girl in 1596 England, discovers a jeweled pendant enclosing a woman's portrait in the Earl of Montacute's hencoops. Her strange find is quickly eclipsed by other matters: Young boys, including her friend William, have been disappearing. Seeking William, Cess makes her way to the town of Yeovil, where Jasper, the innkeeper's son, becomes her reluctant helper. Their search uncovers a plot against Queen Elizabeth I, soon to visit Montacute House. Meanwhile, Cess attracts unwanted attention from the Earl's sinister son after her cousin fabricates a story that Cess practices witchcraft—truer than she knows. Cess' friend, the healer Edith Mildmay, falsely accused of bringing plague and exiled, is a witch, though of a benign Druid-esque variety, and initiates Cess into their practices. A rich portrait of rural life in Elizabethan times emerges—convincingly detailed and seamlessly woven into the narrative fabric—as readers uncover the intertwined secrets of pendant, plot and plague. While Cess' mundane world is entirely believable and always interesting, the witchcraft, with its generically contemporary, New Age feel, is less persuasive. It's only when we lose the witches that the story comes to life. (Historical fantasy. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423138433
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Jago lives in London with her family. This is her first book for young readers. She has previously published two non-fiction titles for adults.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ...A 2011 must-read

    Because of what happened in Father of Lies, I was afraid The Coven's Daughter would be pretty much the same. But this gorgeous young-adult debut did not disappoint.

    The story begins with Cecily Perynn, a poor poultry girl, beginning her day collecting eggs from under the many hens in Montacute House. When she sticks her hand under a hen, she pulls out a small box. Unsure of what to do with it at first, she quickly opens it to find a beautiful pendant. What a gift for her thirteenth birthday, but who left it there?

    Finding trinkets under hens is the least of Cess's problems when a boy is discovered dead in front of the village church. Whispers are spreading through Montacute saying witches have a hand in all this. And because Cess's good friend is called a witch, young Cecily finds fingers pointing her way.
    But there's more to it than the Devil and witches. There's corruption brewing just days before the Queen of England visits Montacute House. When Cecily finds her self in the midst of it all, there's only one way her heart will lead her - to the heart of danger.

    The Coven's Daughter had an unexpected plot. While I simply expected witches and hanging, I found the plot swerve into politics and poison. Nothing prepared me for the beautiful ending when Cecily uncovers a secret she's wanted to know the answer for since she was a little girl.

    Many of you know I'm not a fan of religion hidden in young adult fiction - particularly paranormal. If a book has religion mixed in, so be it, but it should be mentioned in the back. While I expected some religious concepts to come up in The Coven's Daughter, I found none, making this historical fiction novel a 2011 must-read.

    COVER RATING:

    I like the earthy tone of the cover and the girl's face fades perfectly with Montacute House below. Even the foliage that peeks in from the sides is significant to the story ;)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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