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The Vine: August 16, 2013

Submitted by on August 16, 2013 – 3:24 PM12 Comments


I'm on a quest to track down a book that my mom read as a teen, but can't remember the title of and thus has never been able to find again.

I've been looking for it on and off for about a year, but no luck so far.

Here's the general plot: In the present day (at the time of publication) the body of a young girl is found perfectly preserved in mud/ice/a peat bog. She is from an ancient (or at least medieval) civilization, and then the book goes back hundreds/thousands of years to tell her story. The majority of the book is the story of her life, possibly as recreated by the people who find her based on the clues on her body. The girl (young teens) might have been a bride. (In any case, she dies young, since they find her body.)

My mother read it when she was about 13, around 1972, and she remembers it being a shorter, scholastic-type paperback book, that might have been old even then. It might be a fictional response to P.V. Glob's book The Bog People, a book I came across in my research. It is definitely not any of the myriad books on bog bodies published in the 1990s.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


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  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    I have no idea what the book is but I really want to read it! If she thinks it might have been a Scholastic book it might be worth contacting them to ask. has a pretty good search function although if it was young adult it probably won't be listed.

  • Gina says:

    While there appears to be tons of historical fiction written about bog people after the late 90s, it's really hard to find anything written in the 70s or earlier. I really hope the Nation can find this one, because it sounds like a great read!

  • Lindsay says:

    Oh, the description reminded me so much of Haunted Ground by Erin Hart! But, that clearly isn't it because it was written in 2005 :(
    Still, a great read:

  • Cij says:

    I think it is this book:

    Before the days of after school activities, I stayed in the old library of my school until 6pm when my mom could come get me. I did a lot of browsing through the old out of print books, and I specifically remember reading the forward about the beautiful girl who faded away to nothing once the oxygen hit her body, and how they wondered what her life had been like and this was something they came up with. I was on a big kick of stories set in bronze/medieval/druidy times.

    Hope it's helpful.

  • ysabet says:

    Try "The Virgin in the Ice" by Ellis Peters. She wrote about 20 medieval mysteries featuring her detective Brother Cadfael. I love them all.

  • Lee Anne says:

    Gina–I know, I keep bumping into things from the 90s too–it's like "yes!!." :( Unless it's a time-traveling book. . .

    I'll try to post it if we find it somewhere else. There's this awesome group on called "What's the Name of that Book???" No luck there yet, but it's a really addicting search! One suggestion was the book "The Faraway Lurs" which actually matches in a lot of particulars, but is not, alas, the right book.

  • Jane says:

    I too think it's The Faraway Lurs. I don't seem to own it any more, but I bought it in the 70s and the plot is as you describe it.

  • Cora says:

    Are you absolutely sure the girl is found in a peat bog? Because the plot sounds awfully close to Green Darkness by Anya Seton, except the girl is found behind the stone wall of an old castle. If not, she might want to try some of Anya Seton's other books — she wrote historical fiction about women mostly in the medieval and renaisaance periods (although I think there's one in there from colonial Massachusetts); all of her books were published between 1941 and 1975. My favorite was Katherine about John of Gaunt's mistress.

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    I love Green Darkness! It's been so long since I read it that I can't say for certain the plot is that close to Bog Bride but I recommend it for a good read.

  • Wehaf says:

    @Nanc – you joke about Bog Bride, but these people don't:

    I unfortunately have nothing literary to offer; I just came here to post about the Bog Bride.

  • Caitlin M says:

    Another good place to ask might be the BookSleuth forum on Abe Books, which has a childrens' section:

  • Lee Anne says:

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm pretty sure it's a children's book, but I'll look into those other ideas.

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