Author of interpretations of the Cinderella story in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (Regan Books, 1999) and the Wizard of Oz in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (HarperCollins, 1996), Maguire takes elements of Jack the Ripper, A Christmas Carol, and Peter Pan, and touches of Alice in Wonderland and Dracula to deftly create a modern ghost story that readily allows the reader to suspend any disbelief of a ghost locked up in the wall of a London apartment. This long-ago residence of Ozias Rudge, the supposed real Ebenezer Scrooge who told his ghost story to young Dickens, is an appropriate setting for a modern tale of suspense and supernatural horror. When Winnie, a disillusioned middle-aged writer, releases the ghost of Gervasa, a young, condemned thirteenth-century French woman grieving for her unborn child, the story becomes deliciously suspenseful. The reader wants to discover what happened to the infant and whether Gervasa convinces Winnie to relinquish her body. After all, in Gervasa's opinion, Winnie really is not alive anyway. Maguire convincingly wraps up the tale, allowing Winnie a chance at another life and the ghost a chance to enter the afterlife, knowing her infant survived her death by burning. With almost three hundred Amazon.com reader reviews for Wicked certainly indicating a wide readership, Maguire's Lost will delight his followers as well as expand his readership. Reading this book might even cause young adults to explore the many classics Maguire refers to, which most certainly will delight high school English teachers. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High,defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Regan/HarperCollins, 339p, $26. Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Ruth E. Cox SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
Children's novelist Winifred Rudge flies from her Boston-area home to London to pay a visit to her distant cousin and old friend John. Instead of receiving his guest open-armed, John is nowhere to be found. His office staff is evasive in fielding Winnie's calls, and Mac and Jenkins, a pair of superstitious home remodelers hired by John to work on the kitchen in his absence, begin behaving strangely, as eerie symbols appear on the wall and inexplicable noises issue from the walled-up chimney space. That Winnie is not alone in her victimization by an otherworldly spirit is a good sign she's not having a breakdown. Maguire, who already has two best sellers to his credit (e.g., Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) makes the supernatural chillingly real. Setting the story in Winnie and John's ancestral home and filling the neighboring house with John's intimidating new inamorata, Allegra, makes us root for the self-destructive Winnie, a most unlikely heroine. An essential purchase and a substantial Halloween treat. Margee Smith, Grace A. Dow Memorial Lib., Midland, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.