Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
The Curse at Lilac Waters is a fantasy novel for children and preteens written by Wilma Fleming. Troelina was used to having things her own way. She was the prettiest purple troll and the others treated her with a bit of deference when she wanted her pick of the berries or other wild goodies the trolls fed upon. That feeling of privilege quickly got her into quite a bit of bother, however, when she ran up against the goat called Krug. Krug didn’t like trolls trespassing on goat territory, not one bit, and he was not at all impressed by either Troelina’s fair features or her attitude. All it took was a few magical words uttered by the truculent old goat, and Troelina found herself in the body of a Gopher tortoise. All her dreams about marrying Fole were instantly shattered. A mockingbird came by and laughed at poor Troelina, but even so she knew in her heart that the tribe and Fole would find her. The mockingbird told her that there was one cure to Krug’s curse; a magic pearl that could only be found in a lily pad in the middle of the lake — but Gopher tortoises can’t swim. Will Troelina find a way to end the curse and be reunited with Fole?
Wilma Fleming’s fantasy novel for children and preteens, The Curse at Lilac Waters, is an enchanting environmental fantasy that blends the story of Troelina with that of Eric, a young New Jersey transplant to the Florida wilderness that his botanist father calls home. I enjoyed seeing how Eric’s and Troelina’s stories came together so well. Fleming’s story also introduced me to the Gopher tortoise and other endangered species living in the Florida wetlands, and her descriptions of the environment Eric finds himself in are first-rate. While the woods are not for everybody, that Florida wilderness Eric’s father found seemed like paradise to me. This well-written and exciting tale succeeds on so many levels, not least of which is as an enthralling fantasy. The Curse at Lilac Waters is most highly recommended.