(1932- ) US writer, mostly of YA fantasies, who began publishing with the Beneath the Hill sequence – Beneath the Hill (1967), The Change-Child (1969), The Daybreakers (1970), Over the Sea's Edge (1971) and The Birdstones (1977) – set partly in Wales and partly in the USA, where a community of Welsh Elves has established a Wainscot existence, generally hiding in a huge City beneath a hill. The first volume establishes this premise; the second returns to 16th-century Wales, where the Elves are preparing to emigrate westwards; the third Timeslips various protagonists into the deep American past, where the Elves who probably founded the city are in conflict with Mound-Builder Indians. In the third and fourth two protagonists undergo Identity Exchange, switching lives and times, and the contemporary lad becomes involved in the founding of the elf city, which proves to be called Avalon. In the final volume, less engagingly, an Invisible Companion turns out to be a real elf.
In the Mindy sequence – Mindy's Mysterious Miniature (1970; vt The Housenapper 1971 UK) and The Lost Farm (1974) – a Doll house turns out to contain real people who have been shrunk by a professor; the shrunk are eventually unshrunk. In the Rosemary sequence – Parsley Sage, Rosemary, and Time (1975) and The Magical Cupboard (1976) – Rosemary (a girl) and Parsley Sage (a Cat) go to the 18th century, where among their adventures they save a woman from being burned as a Witch. The Tiddi sequence – The Wolves of Aam (1981) and The Shadow Dancers (1983) – returns to the motifs that govern Beneath the Hill, though the Fantasyland setting of the tales is not innovative: her young protagonist, with animal Companions befitting the Genre-Fantasy mode, liberate a long-lost city and find a race of forgotten elves.
JLC's singletons include The Sleepers (1968), in which the Arthurian cast is come across by some contemporary children – the Sleepers Under the Hill including Arthur and Merlin and the enemies including Morgan Le Fay. Throughout her career, JLC has threatened to publish a classic tale, but has always stopped short of the intensity worthy of her often highly arresting ideas. [JC]
other works: Poor Tom's Ghost (1977); The Bassumtyte Treasure (1978); Me, Myself and I: A Tale of Time Travel (1987).
Jane Louise Curry