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Jane-Emily and Witches' Children
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Jane-Emily and Witches' Children

4.7 11
by Patricia Clapp

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Emily was a selfish, willful, hateful child who died before her thirteenth birthday. But that was a long time ago.

Jane is nine years old and an orphan when she and her young Aunt Louisa come to spend the summer at Jane's grandmother's house, a large, mysterious mansion in Massachusetts. Then one day . . . Jane stares into a reflecting ball in the


Emily was a selfish, willful, hateful child who died before her thirteenth birthday. But that was a long time ago.

Jane is nine years old and an orphan when she and her young Aunt Louisa come to spend the summer at Jane's grandmother's house, a large, mysterious mansion in Massachusetts. Then one day . . . Jane stares into a reflecting ball in the garden—and the face that looks back at her is not her own.

Many years earlier, a child of rage and malevolence lived in this place. And she never left. Now Emily has dark plans for little Jane—a blood-chilling purpose that Louisa, just a girl herself, must battle with all her heart, soul, and spirit . . . or she will lose her innocent, helpless niece forever.

One of the most adored ghost stories of all time is available again after thirty years—to thrill and chill a new generation!

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

And Witches' Children

Chapter One

There are times when the midsummer sun strikes cold, and when the leaping flames of a hearthfire give no heat. Times when the chill within us comes not from fears we know, but from fears unknown—and forever unknowable.

But on that sunny June afternoon when Jane and I first arrived at her grandmother's house in Lynn, my greatest fear was that I should be overcome by loneliness and boredom before the summer was done. The year was 1912, I was just eighteen, and the thought of leaving Martin Driscoll and being cooped up for the shining vacation months with elderly and quite awe-inspiring Mrs. Canfield, with the almost equally elderly, if more friendly, maid, Katie, and with my niece, nine-year-old Jane Canfield, was less than appealing.

Jane had been orphaned the year before when her mother, my elder sister Charlotte, and her father, Mrs. Canfield's son John, were killed. They had been driving their quiet old horse hitched to the buggy, for even though many people have automobiles now, Charlotte still liked the gentle pace of horse travel better than the dust and noise of motor cars. No one has ever been able to understand what the horse shied at, what frightened him so that he must have reared and turned, tipping the buggy and throwing Charlotte so hard against a great tree trunk that she died instantly. John, grasping the reins and striving to control the animal, was dragged quite horribly for some distance. No one saw it happen, and John never regained consciousness, so the cause of the accident has always been a mystery.

My mother and father, Martha and Charles Amory, tookJane, and gave her warmth and love and security, but Jane was still unnaturally withdrawn. She was bright and well-mannered and sweet, but she rarely laughed and I never saw her really play. She read, or sketched—she was quite gifted with her pencil—or just sat dreaming into space. I was very fond of Jane, and I tried to interest her in other things, such as the dolls Charlotte and I used to play with, or my bicycle, or any of the other oddments that remained around the house, but nothing roused more than a polite interest.

When Lydia Canfield wrote Mother, suggesting that Jane spend the summer with her, it was felt the change might do her good—take her out of herself a bit. I backed the idea enthusiastically until I learned that Mrs. Canfield seemed reluctant to assume the care of the child, even with Katie's help, and had suggested that I accompany her.

"But why me?" I wailed to Mother. "Jane's not a baby. She can look out for herself."

"Yes, I'm sure she can," Mother agreed. "But Lydia Canfield isn't used to young children and I certainly don't want her to spend the summer fretting. You could do a great many things for Jane that her grandmother might not know how to do."

"But Mother! Martin and I have a million plans for this summer! He's going to read Shakespeare out loud to me, and I'm going to teach him to play tennis. Besides, what could I do for Jane?"

"Braid her hair, and—"

"I don't see why I should give up a whole summer with Martin just to braid Jane's hair! He'll be going to college in September and I won't have seen him at all!"

"Louisa, you have seen enough of Martin Driscoll during the past six months to last for the next six years!"

"You don't like Martin. I know you don't."

"I don't dislike him. He's a perfectly nice boy. But it wouldn't do you any harm to meet some other young men."

"I'm not very likely to meet anyone locked up in that gloomy old cave in Lynn!"

But I knew it was a losing battle. Charlotte and I were raised in the school of strict obedience and when we were told, or even asked, to do something, we did it.

"It's going to be absolutely awful!" I muttered, "Martin will forget all about me and I won't meet another living soul and I'll probably end up an old maid!"

Mother laughed and hugged me. "That's extremely unlikely," she said. "And just remember, darling, if you and Jane are both miserable we can always cut the visit short."

How many times later I looked back, remembering those words. If I had forced myself to leave, if I had gone home and taken Jane with me, if we had "cut the visit short," would things have been different? Or would that last rainy night always have been waiting somewhere to happen? But at the time all I knew was that we were thirty miles from home, embarked on a summer which, while it might not be truly dismal, certainly promised no great diversion.

However, it always seems to me easier to be happy than unhappy, and since there I was, and there I was going to stay, it was only intelligent to find whatever pleasant aspects there might be in the months ahead. There would, for example, be letters from Martin, and these I looked forward to eagerly. The last evening, when he had come to say good-bye, we had sat in the porch hammock, his arm around my waist and my head on his shoulder, and he had promised to write every day.

"And you must only read the letters when you are alone, Louisa. When you can't be interrupted. Because I shall be writing my deepest thoughts, and you must read them just as you listen to me now. With your whole attention."

My eyes had misted as I promised. Martin's deepest thoughts were very beautiful.

"And you will write to me every day, Louisa?"

"Well, I'll try, Martin. But I may be busy sometimes—looking out for Jane, and everything. I may not be able to write every day." Somehow I could not bring myself to admit that I detested writing letters, and that they always came out sounding stiff and stupid.

And Witches' Children
. Copyright � by Patricia Clapp. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Patricia Clapp was born in Boston and attended the Columbia University School of Journalism. Her first novel, Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth, was a runner-up for the 1969 National Book Award for Children's Literature. Her other books include, I'm Deborah Sampson, King of the Dollhouse, Dr. Elizabeth, and Jane-Emily. She describes herself as primarily "a theatre person"; she has worked with her community theatre for over forty years and still writes and directs plays for children. The grandmother of ten and great-grandmother of one, Ms. Clapp lives in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

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Jane-Emily and Witches' Children 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
PieBobPie22 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books that I have read in a while!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 10 years old and I have never forgotten it. It was wonderfully terrifying and so creepy. I wanted to re-read it and also share it with my own children. It was one of the best ghost stories I have ever read and possibly the reason I grew up to love Stephen King!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two outstanding tales! You won't be sorry.
fitz12383 More than 1 year ago
The first time I heard about this author or novel was when perusing Lizzie Skurnick's Shelf Discovery, which, if you haven't picked up yet, is a wonderful little gem of a book featuring teen classics from decades past. Many of you guys have joined the Shelf Discovery Challenge as well. Anywho, I happened upon Jane-Emily and was at once drawn in with the synopsis of the story. I love ghost stories and anything with a Gothic feel. I couldn't find this one at any library nearby, so I ordered it and am so glad I did. This is a classic creepy, psychological ghost story with a side of romance for good measure. Something about children who are evil, possessed ghosts always seems extra malevolent, don't you think? Oh, and you will never look at those silver reflecting balls in peoples' front yards the same way again... ~For fans of Poe, Shirley Jackson, Du Maurier, all that good stuff. This book might also be a good way to get your kids to be fans of the aforementioned :)
harstan More than 1 year ago
¿Jane Emily¿. In the summer of 1912 in Lynn, Massachusetts, Louisa Emory accompanies her niece Jane to visit her father¿s mother. Twenty years ago another young child died there a girl who was willful, selfish, and determined to get her own way. Jane is obsessed with Emily, seeing her face in the reflections ball in the garden, reciting a poem that Emily wrote and seeing the reflections that light up on a moonless night in Jane¿s room. The one thing Emily wanted most was to grow up and marry Dr. Frost but now he is falling for Laura. That makes Emily very angry and she is determined to haunt Jess through someone he cares about. ¿Witches¿ Children¿. It began in January of 1692 in Salem village when a group of girls, cooped up for the winter, begged the slave Tituba to read the cards and tell the future from reading palms. They know the slave goes into a trance and they teach themselves how to do it. As they emulate the slave, the villagers see them having fits and when they come out of it they accuse villagers of being witches. The more attention people pay to them, the more power they gain and the more people are named witches and wizards arrests are made until one of the girls Mary Warren begins to believe they are suffering from group hysteria and begins to doubt what she has ¿seen¿ is real. All the people named witches are found guilty and some are executed until the tide of public opinion turns against them. ¿Jane-Emily¿ was first published twenty years ago and it is a brooding gothic ghost story in the tradition of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Slowly readers come to believe that the essence of Emily is lingering even after she died, as malevolent after death as she was in life. ¿Witches¿ Children¿ is a tale of mass hysteria in which the power of the mind is mistaken for the power of witches living in the village. Both novellas are well written, with interesting characters and a dark foreboding atmosphere.-------------- Harriet Klausner
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