Lilly Peppertree

Lilly's Spell

Young Adult - General
82 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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Author Biography

Multi award winning Author Julie Hodgson, now living in Sweden with her husband John, has travelled extensively all over the world writing for children. She has worked on the children's page of the Kuwaiti Times for about a year just before the first Gulf conflict in 1989, the story teller's page for the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, the press and journal Banff Standard, plus numerous other papers and short story books as well. She has also been featured a few times in the Portuguese newspaper Aponte and several other papers and magazines - such as Maria magazine and others. Very recently she has been on radio Sweden's P4 as their correspondent for the week.

She now settles for a quieter life giving her more time to write stories, and is in popular demand for storytelling, having visited many schools in Portugal.
When last interviewed on the radio, Julie stressed how important it was for children to be able to read. She usually donates the proceeds from the sales of her books and actual books to charities.


Julie is the author of several favorite children’s books, including Sally Socket and the Fire Angel, The Twilight Dance and Other Stories, Juno & the Half Man, Polly Mae, Juno & The Windwalker, The Mothaich, the two knights and many others. Jodie and the library card is now being translated into Swedish. Which has just won the New Apple Literary award. Her latest book is LLillyPeppertree a tale of Pendle hill and witches galore.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite

Lilly Peppertree: Lilly’s Spell by author Julie Hodgson is an enchanting book for children that has easily become one of my new favorite books. Lilly Peppertree loses her beloved mother to what she is told is an accident, but after living with her grandfather for some time, Lilly begins to have dreams about her mom. These dreams prompt her to follow a verbal message left behind; find a crow’s feather and locate a spell book. Young Lilly also learns about the Dying Tree, where accused witches are hanged, and witnesses a witch trial in town where an obviously innocent woman is sentenced to death. Lilly then begins her own journey, making potions and fulfilling a destiny of non-evil witchcraft. But there is a girl in town who wants nothing more than to accuse innocent people of witchcraft, and Lilly meets some unexpected complications that threaten to tear apart what is left of her family.

Author Julie Hodgson has created a world that begs readers to curl up and settle in for a bewitching tale. The writing in Lilly Peppertree: Lilly’s Spell is spellbinding and lyrical, the characters are authentic, and the plot is imaginative and fun. Lilly’s relationship with not only her grandfather but also everyone around her is endearing, and the reader can’t help but fall in love with Lilly’s gold heart and her quests and difficulties. The book highlights what true witchcraft is really about, and I was completely absorbed in the story at all times, reading the book in one sitting. I absolutely adored this book. Lilly Peppertree: Lilly’s Spell is recommended to fans of children’s books about witchcraft and magic, and it will be a welcome addition to any library.

K.C. Finn

Lilly Peppertree: Lilly’s Spell is a young adult historical fiction novel by author Julie Hodgson. The plot centers on ten-year-old Lilly in 1612, whilst England is under the rule of the Stuart dynasty. At the ominous gathering place of Pendle in Lancashire, the often puritanical crowds fear that there are witches amongst them. For Lilly, her only concern is the tragic loss of her mother, dead since Lilly was seven, but whose spirit seems to be returning to her in her dreams, only to be ripped away again every single night. Traumatised by these visitations, it may take Lilly a while to realise that Mama has a purpose for her, a purpose which may endanger the young girl in a town full of suspicion.

As a huge fan of history, I got very excited even from the opening of Lilly Peppertree: Lilly’s Spell. The legends of the Pendle witches are slow to weave into the narrative of Lilly’s tormented life, but once they get going, there’s some very interesting magic afoot. The suggested reading grades (between 3rd and 12th) are certain to find Lilly a relatable character whom they can connect with at once. Her supporting cast of relations - Grandpa, Maggie and Amber - are well formed characters that enhance Lilly’s feelings of isolation, strengthening her connection to the incomplete message she wants to receive from beyond the grave. Overall, Julie Hodgson has produced a fascinating and lively short novel that brings history, and a little magic, to life for young readers.

Jack Magnus

Lilly Peppertree: Lilly's Spell is a young adult and preteen fantasy novella written by Julie Hodgson. When Lilly is asleep, she relives being outdoors with her mother. The two of them gather herbs and berries in the wild, and lie down on the ground and watch as clouds form themselves into animals and other wondrous shapes. Lilly is convinced that her mother is trying to tell her something in those dreams, but she just can't figure out what it is. Her grandfather sits by her bed at night to make sure her dreams do not trouble her. He's been her guardian and family ever since that day, three years before, when her mother died. Maggie, a woman her grandfather met in church, also lives in the little cottage in the woods, as well as her young daughter, Amber. Lilly sees Amber and her mother cuddle together, and it makes her smile and feel sad all at the same time. While she's happy for Amber, and loves having the two of them in her life, she's not gotten over losing her own mom.

Julie Hodgson's young adult and preteen fable, Lilly Peppertree: Lilly's Spell, is a lovely fantasy novella about a young girl whose ancestral legacy is misunderstood and has led to the deaths by hanging of her mother and grandmother. My favorite parts of this book saw Lilly out in the woods and fields, both with her mother in her dreams, and in her own explorations as she discovers her gift and learns to practice her craft. I was delighted to learn that 'eye of newt' is actually a plant-based product rather than a piece of an animal, and found the historical base for this tale to be both tragic and fascinating. This magical, lyrical, and sweet tale is highly recommended.