Volume 19 Number 4
Set in rural Alberta, Julie's Secret is an exciting sequel to Cora Taylor's first book entitled Julie ¹, about a girl who experiences ESP. Julie is the youngest child in a family of seven. In fact, according to the town historian, Gil Gordon, she is the seventh child of a seventh child, which may explain her ability to sense things. Although she does not understand her ability very well, Julie believes no one else really knows either, so she tries to act as "normal" as her closest brother, Billy. Circumstances, however, make it necessary for her to use her ESP in a dramatic rescue.
While seeking shelter from an unexpected spring blizzard with her older sister Mary in the barn on the abandoned Tyler farm, Julie senses some horrible things have taken place there. After her father Will and her older brother, Charlie, rescue them from the barn, the family asks the RCMP to investigate evidence of a fire, an upside-down cross and the remains of a dead calf. Julie unintentionally arouses the suspicion of the police by having her father tell them where to dig up the floor in the old barn. An unearthed body turns out to be a young teenager from Vancouver. But Julie senses more mysterious happenings connected with the old barn and an old double murder is uncovered, as well.
In the climax of the story Julie must use her ability to help find Billy, who is kidnapped after he accepts a ride from a stranger. Her father asks her to try to sense where he has been taken, and she can see many symbols carved into a wooden door (this image is used for the cover of the book). An exciting chase begins as the police, Julie's mother Alice, driving the family car, and Will, in a small airplane, converge on an abandoned cook shack in which Billy is held prisoner. In the last chapter, Julie begins to realize that several people know about her ability to sense things and she wonders if that means it is no longer a secret. It is still a mystery to me who Billy's kidnappers are or whether or not they were brought to justice, but perhaps that will be explained in the next book.
After reading this book, I was intrigued to learn more about Julie's "pet tree" and to find out how she was able to rescue her father after his tractor accident. Since the first book covers Julie's early childhood, it helps to have read it before reading Julie's Secret, which takes place in the months between Christmas and early summer when she is eleven years old. I would make sure I had both books in my library, because if you read one, you'll want to read the other, too.
Constance Hall, Hamilton, ON.
¹ Reviewed vol. XIV/2 March 1986, p.66.
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