This is the biggest favor I have ever asked you guys (even bigger than the time I asked you to "like me" on Facebook, and may we all pretend that never happened, ok?)
I read this book in junior high (possibly elementary school) and I LOVED it. So much. I read it and re-read it. It was probably the first paranormal book I ever read, and to-date, it was probably the best.
And believe it or not, I cannot remember the title, author, or names of any of the characters. IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.
I periodically wish I could remember the name of this book so I could re-read it and see if it lives up to the hype of my memory. I've tried, and failed, so many times.
But I remember almost all of the plot. So in an effort to hunt down this much-beloved book, I am going to tell you ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I can remember about it, and hopefully someone in InternetLand can help me out, ok?
The book starts in a small town or village in the 1800s (possibly the later half of the 1800s). The town is being attacked by werewolves (though, I don't think they were referred to as werewolves). The main character, a girl of about 13, realizes that her beloved older brother is one of the werewolves when he takes down the herbs over his window that were intended to protect the family. She tries to warn her father. The brother is ultimately killed by the villagers.
When her father realizes the girl saw the signs of the brother being a werewolf, he decides she should be trained (in what? never specified). Her mother objects to this plan. An aunt and uncle come to debate the matter. (The uncle has a really strange name.) They decide that the girl will stay at home with her parents and learn basics like herbology and healing for a few more years. There's a lot of lovely discussion about flowers and minerals and sketching things into books.
A few years go by. The Heroine develops a crush on Boy 1 (who the reader recognizes as unsuitable husband material, even though Heroine does not). A new family moves to town with a beautiful daughter who is always ill. Boy 1 drops Heroine like a hot potato for the new girl. At a town dance of some kind, the heroine realizes the daughter is a vampire and Boy 1 is under her thrall, though Boy 1 just accuses her of being jealous. Heroine, father, uncle, and Boy 2 (shyer, older, and clearly a better catch than Boy 1, though Heroine doesn't realize it yet) go to kill the vampire. Her "parents" (really grandchildren or great-nieces and nephews) are terrified and relieved, as they've been forced to help her for decades. Boy 1 does not recognize the solid that Heroine did for him and totally blows her off for reasons like emasculation or something.
Mother is super angry that the family members allowed daughter to go vampire hunting in defiance of the mother's orders. At this point, the aunt (?? Pretty sure it was an aunt) comes to take Heroine off to do more training elsewhere to resolve the family conflict. Boy 2 does something really thoughtful like carving a chest for all of Heroine's healing magic herbs.
Aunt and Heroine hear of a town that used to be called Cloudcatcher. (How I remember the name of this town and none of the names of the characters is BEYOND ME.) The town currently has a much creepier name, as the town is haunted by a malevolent ghost. It's always dark and depressing and the sun never shines on the town. Aunt and Heroine do some investigating. The mayor's daughter is behaving in a very questionable manner. She apparently has a beau her father disapproves of. The beau has been away, mysteriously, though the mayor's daughter is convinced he shall return.
Aunt and Heroine do more investigating. Apparently the ghost is an unwanted baby (either aborted or left out to die by some desperate teenage girl in the town after her boyfriend abandoned her). Aunt and Heroine do an exorcism which just pisses off the ghost baby more. They then discover the mayor's daughter is PREGNANT (which is a direct echo of the situation that created ghost baby). When the mayor's daughter's boyfriend returns and proposes to the mayor's daughter, the ghost baby is either appeased or weakened so it is successfully exorcised. The sun comes out, the town goes back to being called Cloudcatcher. There is some reference to Boy 2 either planning to come for a visit or sending a gift to the heroine, and the book ends.
In the mid-1990s, it had a black and white paperback cover of what might have been a cabin. Or a forest. Or a mountain. I'm hazy.
A THOUSAND INTERNET HUGS TO ANYONE WHO CAN FIGURE THIS OUT!