Midnight Gulch used to be a town with magic—a town where people could bake secrets into pies, sing up rainstorms, and catch shadows. Currently the town’s welcome sign reads, “Midnight Gulch, Tennessee—a proper place to call home” but as Felicity Pickle, her wanderlust mother, and her younger sister drive their dilapidated van, affectionately know as the Pickled Jalapeño, into town, she can see through the layers of paint that the sign used to boast, “Midnight Gulch, Tennessee—a magical place to call home.”
The idea of magic is an exciting one to Felicity. She hopes that with the help of Midnight Gulch’s magic and a little luck she will finally be able to make her dream of finding a place to call home come true.
Twelve-year-old Felicity possesses a “snicker of magic” of her own. She has a unique gift that allows her to see words that people are thinking or feeling. She glimpses words everywhere—looped above people’s heads, perched on bookshelves, streaming down walls, and shining in windows—and the words, at least the interesting ones, have personalities of their own. Some dance, some sparkle, some fly, and many showcase themselves in color—polka dots, zebra stripes, and neon hues.
It is through her magical word collecting that she meets and befriends Jonah, an amazing boy who uses his alter ego—the Beedle—to secretly help people in the community. According to his grandmother, he has a knack for “fixing what’s ailing” folks and he is making good on his promise not to waste his “know-how.”
It is with the help of Jonah’s “know-how” and his unfailing friendship that Felicity discovers the town’s magical past and learns the complete story of the feuding Brothers Threadbare, their ill-fated romances, and a mysterious curse. A curse that Felicity believes is the key to changing her mother’s wandering ways.
Debut author Natalie Lloyd’s foray into the world of children’s literature is charming. Lloyd’s ability to weave together tidbits from several seemingly separate stories to form a cohesive thread is inspired and clever. Combined that with her use of language and description and her book comes alive, much like Felicity’s collected words. Captivating characters steal the show and one would be hard-pressed not to discover someone to adore in this enchanting story about friendship, perseverance, and ultimately, love.