The Night of the Solstice by L. J. Smith
When Claudia Hodges-Bradley meets a fox, she knows it will be an extraordinary day. Not just any fox, this vixen is the magical familiar of the sorceress Morgana Shee. For years Morgana has guarded the solitary gate between Earth and the Wildworld, a shimmering parallel universe where legends still live. She alone holds the secret of the mirrors that serve as the last passage to enchantment. But Morgana has been betrayed and imprisoned in the Wildworld, and the fox is determined to recruit the Hodges-Bradley kids for the rescue mission.
Armed only with courage and determination, Alys, Charles, Janie, and Claudia must save Morgana before the winter solstice, when the evil sorcerer Cadal Forge plans to escape Wildworld and conquer Earth. And with December 21 only 2 weeks away, there is no time to lose...........
There is quite a story behind this book for me. I've been looking for it for years, because I read it when I was 10 years old from the library, then could never find it again. I remembered it was called Night of the Solstice, and I remembered it had something to do with the winter solstice and there was a grotto in it. That was all I could remember, and of course I had no clue who the author was. I had searched for it in the computers at work before, and figured it was probably out of print. So when we got this book in about 2 months ago, I immediately bought it. The summary didn't sound much like what I remembered, but the winter solstice was in there and it sounded good, so I figured it was worth the risk.
Now that I've read it, I am positive it's the same book I read as a kid. I remembered virtually nothing from the story, and the things that I did remember were really minor parts, but there were a couple of things that jogged my memory. It's hard to measure something you read as a kid against an adult interpretation. I think that usually some of the magic of the story gets lost. That being said, this was still a really good book. Definitely a great one for kids that like fantasy and adventure. My favorite characters were Alys, the winged serpent, and the vixen. I think most kids could find something to relate to in this book, because the 4 main characters-the Hodges-Bradley kids- range in age from 7 years old to 16 years old. There is a sequel that I haven't read yet, and didn't know about as a kid. I will definitely be reading that!
Rating: Buy it!