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Can anyone identify this children's book - early 1980s?

(17 Posts)
TheMemoryLingers Fri 28-Feb-20 17:02:59

I've seen some posters recently with amazing skills at identifying books from very vague clues so I thought I would try this one which I have been trying to track down for years.

This is very, very vague, apologies and some of the details might be misremembered.

A girl (and her sister?) go to stay with their grandmother over the holidays, but it's not the gran they normally stay with - it's their other gran and she lives somewhere foresty and a bit witchy.

Their parents are separated and she really misses her dad.

There's some kind of magical artefact in the book - possibly a necklace - that is lucky or grants wishes.

At the end of the story she is reunited with her dad but he only seems interested in his step-family who are boys, and essentially rejects the girl. The ending is very sad - I wept at it as a child.

It was definitely the early 80s when I read it but it was a library book so might have been older than the 80s.

If this rings any bells I will be amazed and grateful.

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TheMemoryLingers Sat 29-Feb-20 10:01:33

Just giving a bump in case any weekend Mumsnetters recognise this.

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DancelikeEmmaGoldman Sat 29-Feb-20 10:55:29

I thought of Diana Wynne Jones’ The Merlin Conspiracy, but only some of the details match.

TheMemoryLingers Sat 29-Feb-20 10:58:34

Oooh! Thank you, I will check that out. I might be misremembering some of the details.

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pollyhemlock Sat 29-Feb-20 11:04:59

Some of the details make me think of Midnight Blue by Pauline Fisk

pollyhemlock Sat 29-Feb-20 11:09:30

Also have a look at Wilkins Tooth by Diana Wynne Jones. This has a very sinister witch, two sisters and ( I think ) a necklace. However the ending as I remember it is not particularly sad.

TheMemoryLingers Sat 29-Feb-20 11:22:20

Thank you. Sadly, I don't think it can be Pauline Fisk because that was published a few years too late - it would have to have been out by 1985 based on where I was when I read it. It looks like a really good book, though, so I might read it anyway!

I've had a look at the Kindle preview of Wilkins' Tooth and it hasn't rung any bells so far, but I will keep going and look at other early Diana Wynne Jones books, as it does sound like a fit with what she writes, so hoping it might be a lead!

Thanks again for your help, Dance and Polly.

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SatsukiKusakabe Tue 03-Mar-20 11:35:22

I think it’s a Diana Wynne Jones too - I’ll have a check.

pollyhemlock Tue 03-Mar-20 13:23:11

Yes, I thought that but none of them quite fits. There are elements of Fire and Hemlock, but again that doesn’t have a sad ending.

SatsukiKusakabe Tue 03-Mar-20 13:33:40

This is driving me mad now too - I am sure I read the synopsis of this book a short time ago when I was looking for a book - I think it isn’t Diana now I’m trying to think who else I looked up!

Spidey66 Tue 03-Mar-20 15:45:24


Thank you thank you thank you.

I've been looking for years for a book about some kids running a ''company'' called Own Back Ltd but couldn't find it. I thought Wilkins Tooth sounded familiar....and guess what!!!!

pollyhemlock Tue 03-Mar-20 16:26:16

@Spidey66 You’re welcome! Haven’t been able to answer the original query yet, but at least I’ve helped you!

bookworm14 Tue 03-Mar-20 21:17:54

It’s not this one, is it?

pollyhemlock Tue 03-Mar-20 22:26:36

@bookworm14 that sounds a distinct possibility . Date is right too (1982)

TheMemoryLingers Thu 19-Mar-20 12:55:03

@bookworm14 Oh, my goodness, I think you've found it! I remember the opening now I've looked at it online! You are a genius and I can't thank you enough!

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bookworm14 Thu 19-Mar-20 13:17:36

grin Glad to be of help! Hope it’s cheered you up a bit at this difficult time...

TheMemoryLingers Thu 19-Mar-20 16:08:12

It's by far the best news I have had in weeks, so I am definitely cheered up! grin

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