Sara When She Chooses

SaraWhenSheChooses_lg Cat Jenkins

Dragonfeather Books
170 pp. ● 5.25×8
$10.95 (pb) ● $8.95 (eb)
ISBN 978-1-945805-65-3 (pb)

Childrens Fiction – Fantasy

Publication date: May 2018

About the Book

A trip to Granny’s house.
A shack in the bayou.
A slimy, swamp-birthed omen.
A little girl whose veins pulse with ancient blood.

“Over the meadow and through the woods” was never like this . . .

Sara hates visiting her grandmother’s primitive home during her summer vacation. She hates the swamp that surrounds them, the mold and the strange lights and sounds at night. Until, one night, she discovers what the lights really are and how she is linked to protecting them . . . if she chooses.


“The author skillfully leads the reader until we willingly suspend disbelief and enter the main character’s fantastical world, comprised of a crew of imaginative, mythical creatures, each with its own quirks and purpose.” — Review, Amy Ruth Allen blog



SARA HATED EVERYTHING about Granny’s house.

From the chunks of clay with symbols scratched into them that clattered in the breeze where they hung from the porch rafters, to the coarse pallets stuffed with Spanish moss that were supposed to be beds, to the murky bayou water that oozed all about the cabin and what passed for its yard, Sara hated it all.

Granny’s house was more of a shack, really. It was built on top of massive, old stumps to keep it dry when the water would rise, but it still had a greeny-damp kind of odor that got into your clothes and hair. Sara said she could still smell Granny’s place for weeks after one of her visits.

“That’s mold,” Amy-Dean, Sara’s big sister, would interject into her complaints with a sniff of superiority. “Mold and mildew!”

“Greeny-damp!” Sara would insist. She never liked losing arguments, especially to Amy-Dean.

When Sara was seven years old, Granny had sent for her. Mama said Granny needed her to “help out for a spell.” Sara protested that neither Amy-Dean nor her brother Michael had to leave all their friends and travel to some swamp to help an old lady they never saw or heard from any other time of the year. It wasn’t as though Sara was the only girl or the eldest. It was just dumb, bad luck, she thought. Mama tried to make it sound as though it were an honor, but Sara could tell that something about it worried her. At times she even thought it scared Mama a little.

“Granny says it’s got to be you. So, Sara-Jean Mayhew, you mind your manners and do what Granny tells you. It’s only for two weeks. You’ll have all the rest of the summer to waste time with your friends.”

Late at night Sara thought she heard harsh whispering coming from her parents’ room. Mama and Papa were arguing, and Sara’s name popped up too often, but in the end, Mama packed Sara’s bag and drove her all the way to Chalmette where Granny stood on the shore waiting for them.

Sara, already in a resentful mood, really didn’t want to go any further when she saw that frizzy white hair, and that shapeless old dress, and the chipped-up, leaky rowboat that Granny said was their ride.

Mama loaded her bag into the boat.

Granny took her hand. “Don’t fret, child. You might find yourself some wonders while you’re here. Just keep your eyes and mind open.”

Granny pulled on the oars and gained momentum through the rush-choked waters. Mama waved from the bank, getting smaller and smaller.

Sara let the anger and rebellion seething inside her grow as the little boat slipped deeper and deeper into the bayou. It didn’t help when they finally tied up to a tree alongside Granny’s watery back yard, and Sara lugged her bag toward the porch, bumping it loudly up the steps, that Granny put her face down close to Sara’s.

“Shhhhhhhh . . . Careful with that bag. You don’t want to be wakin’ any ghosts now, do you, child?” She laughed loud enough to rouse the dead herself.

Sara didn’t laugh at all.