Madame L found "Greenwitch," by Susan Cooper, at the gift-and-junk-food shop in a hotel where she was attending some meetings last month. The Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel has a great idea there: a book exchange. You pick up a used book, free, and replace it with another one. So, while Madame L was attending that conference, she picked up "Greenwitch" and a book of Congregational church hymns and a book of poetry, replacing them with three books she had already read.
But, back to "Greenwitch": It's the third book in the five-book "Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper. Madame L read all these books when she was younger, then re-read them when her children were reading them, and is planning to give her complete set of the books to her grandchildren when she thinks they'll enjoy them.
So, why read "Greenwitch" all by itself, now? Madame L remembered some of the details of the story and wanted to review them. Plus, the hard-cover book was free. And it's short (129 pages). Mostly, though, Madame L remembered being fascinated with the idea of a Greenwitch, kind of like the female version of the Green Man of English lore.
Madame L recommends this book to all her Dear Readers. You can even start with this book, or, better yet, start with "Over Sea, Under Stone," then read "The Dark is Rising," and then read "Greenwitch." (And then read "The Grey King" and "Silver on the Tree.")
These books, supposedly for children ("The Dark is Rising" was a Newbery Honor Book) and definitely fitting in the "fantasy" category, have timeless lessons on values and morality and courage and strength.
The Greenwitch is a woman-made creature that is cast into the sea every year, and Jane Drew, one of the four children in the series, is invited to witness the making and the throwing of the woven-wicker image into the sea.
Jane, the only girl among the four main characters, is featured here, the only book of the series in which she takes a leading role. She is instrumental in saying just the right thing at just the right time to the Greenwitch. Her brothers Simon and Barney, along with Will Stanton, who is the youngest of the Old Ones, are involved in the rest of the story, and they all help Great Uncle Merry find the grail and the scroll with the interpretation of the grail's lettering.
Madame L will be happy to send it to any of her Dear Readers who would like to read it. Yes, it's that good. Or, if none of her Dear Readers is interested, Madame L will return it to the hotel gift shop and pick up another one in its place.