The Whitby Witches
Why this book?
As a child, one of my favourite stories, that went on to help shape my personal writing style, was The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis. As a care leaver I found the main characters, siblings who had been shunted between several foster homes because of the brother's psychic gift, relatable. The sister doesn't believe him - a brilliant source of conflict because all they have is each other, yet there's this huge wedge between them. But the best part is how well the author blends the magical with the mundane. There's a group of almost Lovecraftian creatures that can only be seen by those with The Sight, living alongside the villagers. I loved the idea of unseen people, just a shadow's width away, unknown things living side by side with a blissfully ignorant human populace. That contrast between the ordinary and fantastical had crept into a lot of my stories.