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Pippa Rede?a contemporary witch and devoted mother of nine-year-old Winterbelle?struggles for subsistence in a frigid northeeastern corner of America. When her daughter is stolen from her by bigots and zeealots who have labeled Pippa an unfit parent, Pippa retreats into the dark, wild wood on a transforming inner quest, determined to unlock the strengths she will need to win back her Winterbelle.
Pippa Rede—a contemporary witch and devoted mother of nine-year-old Winterbelle—struggles for subsistence in a frigid northeeastern corner of America. When her daughter is stolen from her by bigots and zeealots who have labeled Pippa an unfit parent, Pippa retreats into the dark, wild wood on a transforming inner quest, determined to unlock the strengths she will need to win back her Winterbelle.
A husbandless young wiccan, Pippa Rede, works in the Rose Petal and Thorn flower shop supporting herself and her adorably sensible nine-year-old daughter, the elfin Winterbelle. Pippa is often distraught, but the sweet Winterbelle helps soothe her buffetings. Then the local Herald begins printing attacks on satanism, pointing to Pippa. It's all very unfair—she is, after all, only a friendly, contemporary young witch trying to make it on her own, for heaven's sake. At school Winterbelle seems to outwit meddling psychologist Carol Aaby, who nonetheless comes that night to the Rede home with the Department of Family Services and removes Winterbelle from the house of witchcraft. Things get worse as Pippa is fired from the Rose Petal and Thorn for being scary to Christians during the shop's big Christmas season. Will the editor of the Herald consider helping her? Will lawyer Arthur Torvid, fuming about Constitutional rights, come to her aid? Not bloody likely when psychologist Aaby calls Pippa the Devil's pawn and the Herald prints an alarmist letter about "ritual abuse." Pippa finally gets help from an unexpected source: Spear, a Native American law-school dropout, has developed a special personal interest in people who are doing something that doesn't make sense to anybody else—such as wiccans—and he proves more than a match for Pippa's many enemies.
The bad guys are one-dimensional, the conflict hopelessly banal. Here, sentimentality flattens all interest.
Posted November 4, 2014