Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Witches and wizards, cats and familiars, all go together, right? Especially at Samhain (otherwise known as Halloween). It’s a time when the curtain between the living and the dead falls apart and the two walk the earth together. But in a time when there are witchfinders and the penalty for being called a witch, or for a cat being accused of being a familiar (the witch’s evil spirit or demon companion), is death by fire, there is no safety net for those who are alone and in some way different from others. This is the seventeenth century, a scary place for three children and a cat named Max from the twenty-first century. The children and the cat are time-travelers, set on finding their parents who disappeared mysteriously on one of their own time-traveling adventures. But this time, their journey to the past has been called upon by a witch of the seventeenth century, in the hopes that they might be able to rid the small town of Mistley Thorn of the evil Witchfinder General before any more wrongly accused women are burned at the stake for the accusation of being a witch. It’s a dangerous mission. Are they up to it?
I have to admit I love a good time-traveling mystery and Wendy Leighton-Porter’s Middle-Grade fantasy novel, The Shadow of the Witchfinder, is certainly a good page-turning, action-filled adventure in time travel. Add a little magic and witchcraft and a bit of history to the mix and this story is well worth the read for people of all ages. Following Max the cat’s previous adventures in Shadows From the Past, this adventure explores further the fears of seventeenth-century people that led to such horrific events as the well documented Salem Witch Trials. As the plot thickens and the foursome (three children and a rather hesitant hero of a cat) get themselves into one predicament after another, the reader is so wrapped up in the development of the adventure that they are as surprised as the children in the story to discover that there might possibly be real witches. The use of language and description is well used as a powerful tool to drive the action to a fitting climax. I enjoyed this story immensely and look forward to more time-traveling adventures with Max the cat.