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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
It was supposed to be a relaxing getaway for the Speedwells as they arrived at Witch Dance campground at Natchez Trace. After struggling to have children, which deeply affected their marriage, Thomas and Margaret are finally blessed with six-year-old twin girls, Emily and Sarah. Unfortunately, Sarah went missing and Emily is traumatized by the tragedy, unable to tell anyone what had happened. Margaret is devastated but won’t give up hope. With the help of Rich Martin, a reporter and childhood friend, they discovered that there have been many missing children, connected back to a mystery two millennia ago that involved the ancestors of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians.
Witch Dance by Lori Crane has developed a folklore story into an intriguing supernatural tale. The engaging narrative smoothly changes back and forth between the present with the Speedwell family’s predicament and the past with brothers Chiksa and Chata’s tribe. This easily gives the plot a good depth. They mirror each other in some events emotionally, particularly when Margaret and two other protagonists in the past, Salina and Mia, have lost their child and are consumed by grief.
As the story progresses, hope and determination connect the characters to confront the mysterious one they called Oma. The characters are solidly individualized and I found the mothers easy to empathize with. I gravitated towards Myrtle and Ivy halfway through the book. I liked the twist on Rich’s background and the way Crane ended the story. Overall, Witch Dance is fascinating, unworldly and poignant, an excellent glimpse into a part of Native American folklore. Well worth a read.