105 Ways to Give a Book

Glass Half Full

I’m a “glass half full” kind of person. Stop laughing, Bill — I am. Sort of. Sometimes. Well anyway, today I was.

Last night my seven-year-old was snuggling in our bed. She was having trouble sleeping, and it was almost midnight. She sat up, muttered something incomprehensible, and threw up on my actual person. The hubby and I went into full-on crisis mode. He scooped her up and ran to the bathroom. I also ran to the bathroom, undressed my disgusting self and tried to clean up. I made a fair shake of it and returned to pull off the sheets and mattress cover before damage could be done to our bed. You know, the only mattress without plastic sheeting.

With the seven-year-old under my husband’s care, I went to take a shower to rid myself of the residual stench. We tucked my daughter in, my husband went back to bed, and I waited to put the sheets in the dryer. I was also listening for further episodes from my little one, but thankfully, none were forthcoming. However, with the surprise shower, listening to her every movement and the general post-traumatic stress. I could not get to sleep. I read a book and turned in after 2:00 a.m.

But I woke up today looking at the positive. I guess I didn’t have to go to work. And we would be obliged to stay home. No tossing your cookies at the pool, after all. I could catch up on some housework, some blog stuff, and maybe read a book.

Haunted WatersWith my seven-year-old feeling better and clearly in view (one rule in my house: don’t throw up on Mommy’s brand new couches), I turned my attention to Haunted Waters. I think the author is Mary Pope Osborne — because it says so on the cover — but I would never have suspected it or, without proof positive, believed it. The book is so far removed from the Magic Tree House series as to occupy an entirely different literary planet.

The story is based on a German fairy tale, “Undine,” but she has crafted her own version of the story. It’s creepy with anticipation and mixing with the unknown. A Lord is riding in the woods, when he is drawn in further by mysterious sources. He is welcomed in from the storm by a fisherman and his mad wife. When he sees their daughter, called in from visiting the sea, he is entranced. Stuck on their land for a few days as a flood cuts off his return to his castle, he gets to know the mysterious and lovely Undine and falls in love with her. But the woods hold a demon that terrifies him, even though Undine is not afraid. She has always known its presence. Can the two of them make a future when her past holds her so tightly?

This is a spooky book, of mood and mystery more than actual bad things happening. Mary Pope Osborne wrote Haunted Waters in 1994, than recently revised and republished it. Is it good? It’s not my style, so I find it hard to judge. But it certainly is different. And things could be worse than reading a just decent book. I mean, I believe I’ve covered that topic pretty well today.

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