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Witch Dance

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Just south of Tupelo, Mississippi on the Natchez Trace lies a place of mystery called Witch Dance.
When Thomas and Margaret Speedwell took their twins to Witch Dance for a weekend camping trip, they never imagined they would be pulled into a vortex of witchcraft, tragedy, and karma. One of the girls goes missing; the other won’t say what happened on the other side of the hill.

The tragedy pulls together a cast of characters from Margaret’s childhood and beyond – Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, Toltec ancestors, the extinct Hopewell tribe.

With the help of a childhood friend, a concerned newspaper reporter, and visions by a strange old woman, a two-thousand-year-old mystery begins to unfold, uncovering missing children throughout generations. Who is taking them? Could it be the infamous witches of Witch Dance?

232 pages, Kindle Edition

Published September 15, 2018

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About the author

Lori Crane

15 books104 followers
Bestselling and award-winning author Lori Crane is a writer of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 list many times, including "Elly Hays" which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She's a native Mississippian, currently residing in greater Nashville, Tennessee. She is a professional musician by night, an indie author by day.

Lori's passions are genealogy and American history, which you'll find weaved throughout each novel she writes. She is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United States Daughters of 1812, as well as the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Look for Lori on "Most Terrifying Places in America" on the Travel Channel where her book "The Legend of Stuckey's Bridge" is featured!

***Visit Lori's blog at

***Sign up for Lori's quarterly newsletter at

"Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order." ~Writer's Digest

"Lori Crane is a must-read author." ~Readers' Favorite


The Okatibbee Creek Series:
Okatibbee Creek
An Orphan's Heart
Elly Hays

The Stuckey's Bridge Trilogy:
The Legend of Stuckey's Bridge
Stuckey's Legacy: The Legend Continues
Stuckey's Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan

The Culpepper Saga:
I, John Culpepper
John Culpepper the Merchant
John Culpepper, Esquire
Culpepper's Rebellion

Other Books:
Savannah's Bluebird
Witch Dance
The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal (coming soon)
Eula (coming soon)
On This Day: A Perpetual Calendar for Family Genealogy

Literary Awards:
~Artist of the Month, July 2019, Columbia Daily Herald/Columbia Arts Council, Columbia, TN
~Finalist in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for "Witch Dance."
~Finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Awards for "An Orphan's Heart."
~Bronze medal in literary fiction at the 2013 eLit Book Awards for "Okatibbee Creek."
~Honorable mention in historical fiction at the 2013 Midwest Book Festival for "Okatibbee Creek."
~Honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 Midwest Book Festival for "Elly Hays."
~Shortlisted for '50 Self-published Books Worth Reading in 2013/14' at Indie Author Land for "Elly Hays."

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
4,871 reviews53 followers
July 14, 2020
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A park in Mississippi has burial mounds, and a history of children going missing. It's like a story from Missing 411. In this case, the cause is a little different than most, outre, but not out of the realm of some of the solutions.
Profile Image for Melissa Levine.
1,020 reviews41 followers
November 13, 2018
I was given a free copy of this story for an honest review.

Even though I was left with a fair amount of questions at the end of the story, I thought it was interesting overall.

The narrator did a pretty good job. With more practice, I can imagine her becoming a lot better. My only issue was in relation to her tone. Usually, I would just say “it’s obvious she’s reading from something;” but it was more than that with this audiobook. She spoke slowly and way too calmly, I think that was what the issue was.


After Margaret’s first scare with the girls, at the beginning of the story, I’m surprised she didn’t try to stay closer to them, especially after they went over the hill.

I assume the sheriff interacts with a fair number of wealthy people to where he noticed Margaret’s husband wearing a Rolex from afar.

There was a strange conversation, or part of one, between Rich and Margaret that had a little flag going up. Rich tells Margaret that she can stay with him and his grandma. She commented about how “she’s [Oma] used to reporters.” Margaret’s response? “I’m sorry., I meant no offense.” Huh? I have no clue what she was referring to.

I haven’t read/heard that many stories about American Indians, but I was surprised the medicine woman in the tribe talked about there not being magic. And her telling Chicksa that she could only heal the physical ailments yet didn’t actually do anything for Selena was strange.

What exactly was Selena suffering from beside (post-partum) depression? Her dying for her ailment was because she wasn’t eating or drinking, right? Yet, after the witch helps her, Selena thinks back to that time and informs the reader that she didn’t want to die. So, why didn’t she get up? Ask for water or food? Talk to anyone? Instead, she’d rather essentially sacrifice a baby, one that doesn’t even belong to her, to the witch? If the reader was supposed to feel sorry for Selena during this time, I wasn’t feeling it. It was sad that her baby was stillborn, but that was where my sympathy stopped for her.

Many times, it’s mentioned that Margaret and her husband had tried for kids. Based on the way it’s written, it sounded like there were miscarriage and stillbirths prior to the twins as well as after. Considering all the issues they had prior to the girls, why would they torture themselves by trying to have more kids? This just seemed like one of those situations where you’d be thankful for what you had. Just saying.

Did any notice how strange the conversation between Margaret and her mother was regarding the death of Margaret’s father? It seemed very nonchalant and cold as if they were talking about something else and not the death of a family member.

Oma talks to Selena about banishment. Selena ends up asking her what “banish;” how in the world did she not know what the word meant?

Was there actually a time when Margaret was described? If so, I couldn’t find it when attempting to “look back” over the story in audiobook form. Based on the fact multiple people said she looked like Mia, I assumed she looked American Indian.

Ivy ends up saying how she hasn’t changed anything (her appearance, house) because she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. Wouldn’t that draw attention to you though? I mean, if she’s an old lady that never seems to die…it just sounds strange.

Again, another reason to not feel sorry for Selena. Instead of just defying Oma and not steal babies for her, Selena continues on with it. A second time where her life is more important than a child(s).

Why did it seem like Selena was taking more babies through the years, then what was accounted for? How long had they been at the mounds? A long time. Yet, after doing the research Margaret and Rich only came across three kids having been taken.

Oma threatened Ivy and Merdle(?) that once they left, she would come after them. She’d be able to find them, no matter where they went. So, where do they end up going? Not far from the mound, and Oma never comes after them.

Speaking about Oma again, Ivy, Merdle, Margaret, and Selena are coming up with a way to attack Oma by the mounds. Selena, the only other witch with Oma, has been gone for hours. The reader knows that if the witches are near the mounds, Oma will automatically know they’re there. So, why doesn’t Oma come out prior to being called? How did the witches not think she would know what they were up to?

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,303 reviews27 followers
September 24, 2018
Margaret and Thomas Speedwell are looking forward to a relaxing vacation with their twin girls Sarah and Emily at the Witch Dance campground near Margaret's home town in Mississippi. The area of Witch Dance not only carries the story of the witches themselves, areas where the witches danced in circles, where grass no longer grows. It is also where the people of the Choctaw tribes settled and buried their people in what are known as the Bynum Mounds. Sarah and Emily run off to play on the Mounds as soon as the family arrives, however only Emily comes back from the Mound. Sarah has disappeared without a trace and Emily won't talk. Margaret is desperate as search efforts and police turn up with nothing. However, Margaret's childhood friend Rich digs up reports from the past about other children disappearing from the same area. They are all children who are twins and none of them have returned. Determined to find her daughter, Margaret will have to accept help from an unlikely and unbelievable source and dig into a story that is centuries old.

An intriguing mystery that combines history and the supernatural for a chilling tale. Lori Crane weaves together the legend of Witch Dance and the stories of the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes in order to concoct a compelling reason for the children to disappear from the Mounds. I was pulled into Chicksah's wife, Salina's story as she dealt with tragedy and found her way into a life changing coven. Margaret is a difficult character, she is a doting mother but clearly suffering from postpartum anxiety. This was a fast paced read where time moved quickly. The mystery and suspense intensify as Salina and Margaret's stories converge as to how and why Sarah was taken. Clues are dotted throughout the book, however some of the twists were very surprising to me. Witch Dance is a shorter read and the a so I felt some details were skipped that could have added a lot more ambiance and suspense to the story. Overall, a unique thriller combining different aspects of historical myths and modern day sleuthing.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mandy Barnes.
313 reviews29 followers
September 11, 2018
The Witch Dance
Author Lori Crane
Genre: paranormal
Pages: 167
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mandy for Janise’s Jivin Book Blog

What would you do if you were on the brink of death after losing a child during child birth but given an option of drinking a potion that you know nothing about but the price is what you did not expect? Would you choose life or take the death that is looming over you? Saline seems to be at a cross roads with this decision not knowing what will happen in the morning light but soon things will be seen in the light for what they are and she must once again choose what to do.

Margret and her family are trying to make things work, but with so much that has happened she is on the brink of losing so much, when her husband Thomas suggest a camping trip to the Bynum Mounds in Mississippi but one thing they didn’t count on was having one of their own go missing so quickly after arriving. With a marriage that is on the brink of destruction and an old friend who is now in the picture can Margret make the decision she needs to in order to pay the price of what is to come. But she must learn of the past to save the present.

Two worlds, two time periods with different people soon collide within the pages of the Witch dance a place where witches danced and everything died, two brothers at odds with one another over something out of their control, to mothers with everything to lose. This book is something that brings the past and present to life.

Lori Crane has taken history and fiction and thrown them together to create a world that is something one could only dream about and the horrors of the past meet the present in this amazing fantastic book about Indians, witches, and things that we don’t really quite understand. But who’s to say that there are not things that go bump in the night.
Profile Image for Laura Hill.
756 reviews42 followers
August 11, 2019
Thank you to Lanternfish Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 22nd, 2019.

Plot: 4/5 Characters: 3/5 Writing: 3/5

An ambitious novel about a young violinist who must fight her own inner demons while in thrall to an extremely talented — and potentially crazy — teacher and former prodigy. The chapters rotate through the perspectives of the three main characters: Hilda, the young violinist who we meet at age 15; her mother Claire, a ballerina whose career was killed by an unplanned pregnancy; and Phillip Manns, a former prodigy who suffered a nervous collapse eight years previously and is only now allowing music in some form back into his life.

The story is gripping. While there were some wonderful musical references, the story is far more about the melodrama of their relationships and personal discovery (or lack thereof). Personally, I would have enjoyed more about the music, the drive, and the “art” portion of those with artistic sensibilities. This is more of a drama with an excellent musical background than a literary piece that manages to convey what it means to be such an artist. For example, while Hilda spends an astonishing amount of time practicing, all her thoughts and reflections are bent towards her obsession with Phillip Manns. Manns, on the other hand, is obsessed with the music but is haunted by the memory of his “beautiful, doomed mother,” Domenica. Claire is struggling to both hide and express the “Secret Mother” within her — the mother who wishes she wasn’t a mother at all.

Strong, dramatic plot, decent writing, characters that I did not bond with(but you might) and some beautiful musical context. My big takeaway — I want to go to the bi-annual Paganini competition held in Genoa next Fall.

Profile Image for Mary Lou Hoffman.
1,942 reviews31 followers
November 4, 2018
WITCH DANCE is a standalone story of modern paranormal suspense rooted in historical lore.

I loved the way that the ancient story of Chickasaw Indians was weaved with the modern story of the missing child, Sarah. A loved the juxtaposition of ancient history mixed with supernatural story telling. The best part is that these are real places and real history. Don’t you love when an author starts with what’s real and starts playing with it? I know I do.

If expanding on history and legends is Lori Crane’s playground, I would love to spend more time listening to her books.

Narration: Sarah Colton did a good job. Not great, but good. Her reading is slow paced, clear, and natural. On the other hand, I think she needs to be a little more animated during the dramatic portions.

Note: While I received this book as a gifted audiobook copy from the author via Audio Boom, my opinions are my own and are given freely.

Series: N/A
Category /Genre: Suspense / Thriller
Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content
Listenability: OK for ears
Received from: Sarah L. Colton (as an Audible gifted copy)
92 reviews96 followers
September 17, 2018
Oh wow! I love a bit of escapism and Witch Dance totally hit the spot for me!

Thomas and Margaret's daughter, Sarah, went missing without a trace. Their other daughter, Emily, Sarah's twin, refuses to say a word to anyone about it. While Thomas returns home with Emily, Margaret stays on and is determined to find Sarah and bring her home where she belongs. Little does she know that things are a little more complicated than she could have ever anticipated and when she finds out about tales of witchcraft and about other children going missing without a trace over so many tears, the task of finding Sarah seems almost impossible. Will they get the happy ever after that they are looking for?

A gripping and thrilling read, which is shocking and yet inspiring, Witch Dance is a brilliant read. I can't put into words how much I enjoyed this book. It is definitely one that I would recommend as a must read!
Profile Image for Laura.
588 reviews
October 29, 2018
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Two stories, hundreds of years apart -- one of a troubled couple who have had fertility problems but ultimately were able to have twins and one disappears; and an American Indian couple who give birth to a stillborn baby -- are deftly interwoven. Of the two stories, I empathized more with the American Indian couple and was more interested in their lives than the modern day couple. I liked that the mystery combined historical and supernatural aspects with some interesting twists. However, the characters never really questioned any of the supernatural aspects of the story and the ending felt a bit rushed.

As I listened to this book -- the narrator Sarah Colton did a good job in handling the two stories and the supernatural elements. I found her narrating or speaking style to be a bit slow-paced but this is not a criticsm as others may enjoy pace.
Profile Image for Jessica Brown.
111 reviews3 followers
December 30, 2018
Everything is not always as it seems

I rated this book a 3 because I liked it and it was alright just took me a bit longer than expected to finish it. I was a bit scared in the beginning when Margaret had lost her daughter Sarah. I couldn't imagine the stress and worry that she must have been dealing with losing a child and then there was her other daughter Emily who wouldn't speak after that not to mention the seperation of her and her husband and their family all together. I didn't exactly like the way it ended but I liked how the story had 2 different perspectives that blended together for the reader to understand what was going on. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes witches and old history behind them in a fictional category. Overall, it really wasn't all that bad just takes some time to read and get into.
Profile Image for Samantha Turley.
567 reviews14 followers
October 4, 2018
I absolutely love this cover. It is beautiful!
This is beyond just a Thriller.
Lori Crane has brought to life very multi-dimensional characters and given them a purpose. The world she has created is so vivid and really helps the reader feel like they are there with the characters.
A strong and fast paced plot will keep you invested the entire way through. This was one of those reads that really made me feel a deeper connection than I was expecting.

The characters, plot, and pacing were all spot on and really helped to elevate the novel. A superb not only historical read, but thriller as well.
Profile Image for Raven.
86 reviews3 followers
October 7, 2018
With a marriage on the rocks, Thomas and Margaret Speedwell decide to take a much-needed break from life and head to Mississippi with their two girls. While exploring the Bynum Mound, Sarah vanishes. After weeks of investigation turn up no signs of their missing daughter, Thomas takes their other daughter and heads home while Margaret continues the search. When a childhood friend starts telling a tale that is almost impossible to believe, Margaret needs to find courage that she hasn’t felt since she was a child.
Mystery meets history, meets the supernatural in a tale that is fun to read and keeps the pages turning. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Gina Stamper.
546 reviews18 followers
November 6, 2018
Take me away to another time.
The story really grabs the readers attention from the get-go. Lori Crane does a great job being descriptive and allowing the reader to feel like they are immersed in the world and time.
I was surprised at how fresh and how many surprises there were in this story. What a wonderful job of keeping the reader invested in the series and its characters!
I loved that this wasn’t a typical historical read, but a bit darker. The jump factor was definitely included to make it a true thriller with mystery and jumpy moments!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
39 reviews6 followers
March 26, 2020
This was a Goodreads Giveaway from 2018.

I stopped reading this book at 32% in. It is not a long book, so it would have been an easy read, but I thought I'd move on to better books.

Women are being portrayed as either weak or evil. Men as cold, blundering, and distant. Annoying stereotyping of Indigenous American cultures and witches are both included for your reading pleasure.

The writing is basic. If you are used to reading average writing and blasé stories, this is one for you. I have more books to read than I will ever get to and need to move on.
1 review
September 25, 2018
Grabbed from the very first page

I love Lori's books. But I think this might just be my favorite. A little history mixed with magic and lore and all in a modern setting. It's great! I can't say too much because I don't want to give anything away. But if you have read any of her books before, this is not one to miss. If you haven't read her books before, pick this one up and you'll be hooked on her writting too!
Profile Image for R.K. Emery.
928 reviews32 followers
October 2, 2018
There are a lot of moving parts to this novel and it did take me a bit to settle in and fully understand everything that was going on. That being said, this is a very active novel. You wont want to put it down. Even when you aren't quite sure what is going on, you will want to keep flipping pages to unravel all of the mysteries.

There were many surprises and the way that Lori Crane was able to keep the pacing just right really helps everything flow naturally.
Profile Image for Michelle.
169 reviews14 followers
October 23, 2018
Excellent plot

This story was fast paced and easy to get in to. I enjoyed the way this was written, with both present and past points of view. This story actually led me to look up the Bynum Mounds and learn a little bit about the location and the peoples history. All very interesting!
Profile Image for Roger.
4,041 reviews14 followers
November 12, 2018
My first read/listen from author Lori Crane. The more you read the more the story-line gets more enticing drawing the reader deeper & deeper. I was given an Audible copy of this book & am voluntarily reviewing it. Well-written suspense, with well-developed characters. I’ll be reading more by this author. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018).
Profile Image for Sharon.
793 reviews8 followers
September 12, 2018
Interesting little paranormal tale that was a quick and easy read. Kidnapping, witches and a Mother's love drive this little story to it's satisfying conclusion. 3 star read.

My thanks to goodreads and the giveaway sponsors for the opportunity to obtain a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Debbie.
225 reviews33 followers
September 22, 2018

I love witch stories and this one did not let me down the author Lori Crane did an excellent job explaining each character in the story. I received this e-book for a honest review.
Profile Image for Deedra.
3,779 reviews19 followers
December 30, 2018
Audibe:I found this book very interesting and entertaining.There were a few parts where I thought I missed something,but it all came together in the end.Sarah L Colton was a fine narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.
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