Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

One night, Lucy’s angry stepfather takes eight-year-old Lucy from the little room she has been locked away in for years, puts her in the backseat of his van, and leaves her in a remote English wood. Lucy has learned to read in her ‘room years,’ and her only knowledge of nature comes from books. When she experiences the miraculous outdoors directly, she is full of wonder at the beauty and life all around her. Most of all, she is relieved to be free of her stepfather.

Lucy discovers freedom, magic, and an extraordinary friendship, her first ever, with a surprise visitor, nine-year-old Will, who, bewitched by her wild eyes, long black hair and strange speech, brings her live chickens to give her eggs, food daily, and a recorder to imitate the wood’s sounds. Lucy feels safe and at home for the first time, sleeping inside grandpa tree’s hollow trunk, and playing woodland music during the day that puts a spell on all who hear it. Lucy’s greatest fear is that she will be found.

But the police do eventually capture her and they take her to an orphanage run by strict nuns where the bullying and fascination for toys and television seem strange to Lucy who sees this man-made world as another prison, cut off from outdoor miracles. She eventually manages to escape back to the woods where she and Will, inside grandpa tree, experience magical guidance on how to continue their journey. Book 2 will be: “Lucy and the Forest School of Wonder”.

Christina Pagès grew up in the fields of Kent, England, and spent many carefree hours wandering the countryside with her three older sisters. After living in Spain for three years, Christina married and came to live in America in 1970. She began her studies in literature and poetry while raising four children, and received her Ph.D. in English in 1993. She received a publication award from the International Society of Poetry for her poetry collection, “Shadow Words” (Watermark Press, 2006), and was the California State Poetry Society’s 19th Annual Contest Winner in 2005. Her second full collection of poetry, “Remember Not to Forget”  was published by Summerland Publishing in 2013. Her children’s chapter book, “The Mountain Boy” had been published by the same company in 2007. “Lucy in Her Secret Wood”   is her first young adult novel. Christina began painting English and European landscapes in oils after moving to the U.S. out of nostalgia for the countryside there. Since 1987, Christina has taught in various English departments of universities and colleges on both the East and West Coast. She is now teaching composition and literature at Santa Barbara College, and living in the beautiful valley of Ojai. Christina claims that her writing, painting, piano playing, gardening, all come from her love of nature as a child. “Nature is a child’s best friend,” she says; “it patiently waits to be conversed with and to feed a child’s imagination/spirit.”