Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mystery of the Witches' Bridge

Mystery of the Witches' Bridge by Barbee Oliver Carleton is a Scholastic softcover edition that was reprinted from the original hardcover edition, The Witches' Bridge, published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. in 1967. The book is 304 pages long.

From the back cover:
‎EVIL haunts the Witches' Bridge. . .the foggy marshes. . .the old Pride house!

Now young Dan Pride has come to live there. Can he escape the terror that hangs over Witches' Bridge?

That night, Dan sees a weird light, flickering out on the marsh.

"D-A-N," the light spells out in code. "DAN PRIDE..."

The book tells the story of thirteen-year-old Dan Pride, who was orphaned three years before the beginning of the story. Dan has come to live at Pride's Point, which is located in the marshes near York. York is somewhere near Boston, Massachusetts, although the exact location is never stated in the book.

The Pride family has been in a feud with the Bishop family for ages. Old Samuel Pride and his wife were accused of witchcraft by the Bishop family. Now, 300 years later, the feud between the Prides and the Bishops continues, and the people of York are terrified of the marsh and look down on the Pride family.

Dan is persecuted by the townspeople. Even worse, Dan's uncle, Julian Pride, acts like he wants nothing to do with Dan. The hired man, Billy Ben Corey, is Dan's only friend until Dan meets two children his own age, twins Pip and Gilly Cole.

But all is not as it seems. Dan discovers that everyone has secrets, that friends might be foes, and that those believed to be foes could become friends.

The backdrop is the spooky marsh, which is full of danger. Above all, Dan wants a home. He hopes to end the feud by discovering what happened to a missing briefcase. However, Dan soon learns that he has a formidable enemy who will stop at nothing to prevent Dan from finding the briefcase.

This is the type of book that I love the best. The protagonist is an ordinary boy who discovers mystery in his own backyard, so to speak. My favorite books have always been this type of story.

If you have read the Trixie Belden books, think of the setting of the first six books, which mostly take place right around Trixie's home. Those books are magical, and Mystery of the Witches' Bridge is just as magical. I do not mean that this book is like the Trixie Belden books; it is different, but I felt the same magic as I read this book that I feel when I revisit any of my favorite books. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. A number of copies are available for purchase online, and I highly recommend that you read it.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a lot of fun! I only read a few of the old Scholastic books growing up, but some still rank among my favorites.

Mike G said...

I took your advice (since it is always good), and purchased a hard cover version of Witches' Bridge. I really enjoyed the book. It had a more emotional, realistic tone that I wished more series books could have emulated. I enjoyed the characters so much that it is unfortunate there were no follow-up books. I just purchased Saturday Cove on eBay and look forward to reading it.

I did finally purchase two copies of Clue of the Crossword Cipher that both listed to Phanton of Pine Hill. Neither had a post text listing. One of them was in quite good shape, so I'm happy to finally have found that extremely difficult book.


Jennifer White said...

I am glad that you enjoyed it. This is such an outstanding book, and I am confident that anyone who likes classic children's books will greatly enjoy this story.

Congratulations on finding the first of Crossword Cipher!

Bill Cameron said...

Stumbled across this post nearly two years after it went up, but had to chime in and agree. This is one of my all-time favorite books, one I re-read at least once a year. That means I've read it a minimum of 40 times, and probably more.

I'm glad I found this blog. It's bring back lots of great book memories and giving me new ideas for my admittedly towering TBR pile.

Travis Ketchum said...

I have this book and read it many times as a child. I loved it and highly recommend anyone that likes classic children fiction to give it a try. I really wish the author had written more. I am on the lookout for the original hardback with a dust jacket....It's VERY pricey.