I’m slowly making my way through Barbara Michaels’ books, and I just finished Witch. This is another of the earlier books that I think are far superior to the books from the 1990s and later. Witch has another one of those atypical Michaels heroines. Ellen March is divorced and in her later thirties. She has been taking care of her sister’s kids, three boys, after the sister’s death. Ellen and her daughter, Penny moved in with Jack and his sons, and although Ellen felt love for Jack, she kept the feelings to herself. As the boy all go over to college, and Penny, at the age of 16, is headed to a trip to Europe for the summer before heading to boarding prep school, Ellen decides to look for a house of her own. Jack, a career diplomat with foreign services, is headed to Europe, so it’s the best time for Ellen to look for her own house. After looking around, Ellen found the perfect house, off in the woods. Ed Salling, sales the house to Ellen, but warns her to keep away from the folks in the village. As Ellen learns more about the house, which used to belong to the local witch in the 1700s. The witch was the wife of a wealthy landowner, probably Spanish, who was also probably Roman Catholic. Ellen doesn’t learn much about the witch, other her love of animals and her death by hanging. Was is suicide or murder? Is the white cat that Ellen sees around her house, a ghost of the witch’s cat. What’s the shadow that haunts Ellen at night in her bedroom? Ellen becomes involved with her neighbor Norman and his nephew, Tim. Tim seems to be a troubled boy, and Ellen tries to get his uncle to help him. It also doesn’t help when the narrow-minded, extreme religious sect in the town starts to think Ellen is a witch.
The story really kept me on the edge of my seat. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, and I was eager to see what would happen with Ellen and Tim, and if Jack would ever realize that he and Ellen were the perfect couple. Everything works out in the end, but the book is one heck of a thrill ride. I would definitely recommend the book. There’s not that much woo-woo, but there is the haunted overtone. I wish Michaels would have written more books, or could still churn them out as she did in the 1960s through 1980s.