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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Magdalena Gottschalk: The Crooked Trail by M. Gail Grant follows Magdalena upon her thirteenth birthday when she discovers secrets in her quaint town of Lily Brooke. After an exploration through the woods with her friends, Gabriel and Hubert, leads them to a hidden cave, they find lanterns, sacrificial drawings on the walls, and a bizarre and empty tree house. To find answers behind the cave, they turn to their other friends for help. A strange book called Demonic Enchantments, and an even stranger conversation between the preacher and Magdalena's mom, reveal possibly sinister secrets the adults of the town may be keeping. When they realize they may have freed something demonic from the cave, the friends band together to find a way to fix their mistake before it's too late.
M. Gail Grant has a charming style with sweet descriptions, often using old-fashioned phrases and language that perfectly fits the personalities of the children and the quaintness of the town. This is a town that seems idealistic on the surface with a nosy neighbor, hardworking farmers, and a baker that found his calling at a young age. But Grant crafts a darker and sinister underbelly to the town in a secret that the townspeople have banded together to keep hidden. This is the mystery the children strive to solve in an adventure that often reminds me of the classic mysteries of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, except with demons and magic. Magdalena Gottschalk is a tale of adventure and friendship, courage and heroism, a coming of age story perfect for young adults. The delightful world and wonder of adventure will appeal to all ages.