A PECULIAR MAGIC by Annabel & Edgar Johnson
Kirkus Star


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A peculiar magic has all the familiar story magic that belongs to the Johnsons. The heroine is Lucinda Ferris, about 12 years old and on her way out of a long tomboyhood. She trusts no one and has no reason to. The post-Civil War urge to the public supervision of private morals caught up with cattle town Kansas and Cindy's mother, a dance hall girl, had been the victim of the Ladies' Reform Society which had descended on the saloon after dark, rounded up the dancers and shipped them out of town with one way tickets to Denver. This leaves Cindy on her own. If she stays, the Ladies' R.S. plans to take her to their hard hearted bosoms and break her to their ways. She goes. Her companion is the romantically mysterious Durango, the dance hall piano player and she doesn't trust him either. Their first stop puts Cindy accidentally in a position to support herself as a supernumerary with a troupe of actors. Durango fits in as background accompanist. (She doesn't quite trust the players either.) Her determined search for her mother goes forward with the marvelous odyssey of the actors. This is a superb fictional rendering of theater in the Old West and all its tribulations of transportation, costuming, props, etc. and offers excellent insights into the reasons for acting and training of actors. It's a successful search for Cindy and, just before she finds her mother, she reaches an understanding of people. Girls will want an encore; it's the sort of story you hate to see stop.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin