The Magic Keys of Tanglewood

by Malcolm Chester
Trafford Publishing

"...sometimes you just have to take on challenges even though the odds of success aren't great."

Amid the fascinating history of a centuries old curse, this young adult-oriented fictional tale, revolves around a mid-18th century incident of bullying that occurred at the prestigious Tanglewood boarding school. Ensconced in witchery, the legend holds that a student disappears on Halloween, a lock appears on the school's front gate, and the missing girl becomes trapped in a World-in-Between. Any chance of release is linked to hidden keys, and the witch who invoked the original spell. Now, in the present day, a group of friends monikered as the Fab Four, decide to venture into the secret tunnels beneath the school, in a quest to retrieve the keys. In their efforts to save the long lost "key girls," these BFFs enter a strange landscape detailed with odd colors, acrid smells, and eerie noises. In this mysterious world they face the dangers of booby traps, blood-lusting creatures, and the deadly wrath of an evil witch.

Beyond the scope of the ancient spell, Chester creatively incorporates issues of friendship, self-esteem, and rivalry throughout the narrative. The typical trials and tribulations of young love and teenage angst are also a major component within the story. Readers are sure to note the element of camaraderie that crosses the boundary of centuries and the commonality of adolescent concerns that arise by way of the annals of the past and present realms.

An opening notation from the author reveals that the idea of this book came about through Chester's collaboration with Gabrielle Lipkin, an eleven-year-old- niece who envisions her future as a writer. The book's final reflective chapter and concluding discourse clearly indicate that this storyline will continue. Perhaps as these modern day teen characters are drawn deeper into the centuries old conflict, a second joint writing effort will continue to entice readers with an entertaining amalgam of history, magic, and spirited imagination.

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