Fourteen year old EVE ELLIOTT yearns for popular CHASE RIVERS but doesn’t stand a chance against AVERY CARTWRIGHT who’s so rich she competes as an English-style horseback rider. Meanwhile, Eve lives with her single-parent mother, ARIANE, in one of the few rentals – an apartment in a Victorian building twisting with turrets and staircases -- in the Washington, D.C., Georgetown area. Eve, convinced she must have a sperm donor dad given her lack of information about him, searches for clues in her mother’s room on the Friday before Halloween. She finds a beautiful crystal watch, surprised that her stylish mother, who works with the mentally ill in downtown Washington D.C., has never worn it.
That night at a costume party her mother has forbidden her to attend, Eve and her best friend JOCELYN are shunned for wearing “old school” witches’ costumes while the other girls prance around in provocative outfits, until everyone’s attention is focused on Avery’s latest drama, the theft of her championship horse. Finding out that her mother has not yet returned home, Eve and Jocelyn sneak into the park at Dumbarton Oaks, an historic mansion and site of many diplomatic meetings, to start a treasure hunt their teacher Ms. Ainsley assigned. In the woods, Eve is stricken to find Avery and Chase fooling around in the woods as Eve had her own secret make out session with Chase two weeks before they began high school.
After scaring Chase and Avery off, Eve starts to get in touch with her witch powers, but doesn’t yet realize what’s happening. The next day Eve’s mother has still not returned home, but Eve keeps this a secret from everyone but Jocelyn realizing that foster care is the next stop. The only clue to her mother’s whereabouts is that an unknown woman with auburn hair was last seen riding BRAM, Avery’s championship horse. Eve and Jocelyn team up with Avery and Chase to find the missing horse, believing that it might lead to Ariane.
When a Child Protective Services arrives at her door, Eve absconds to England, trading Avery the crystal watch for plane ticket money, in search of her only living relatives. In a cottage on a deserted coast of Cornwall surrounded by snow and ice, Eve finds her aunt CIERA, who (in an accent Eve can barely understand) denies knowledge of Ariane’s whereabouts, but consents to taking Eve of a tour of the area. When Ciera stabs Eve with an icicle from a tree, Eve thinks Ciera is trying to kill her, but Ciera claims that she is only helping her create a wand so that Eve can more fully develop her witch powers. She is appalled that Eve gave away the crystal watch as it plays a key role in a prophecy about time slowing down and eventually running backwards, which will feed into the powers of DUVESSA, Ciera and Ariane’s evil younger sister. Only Bram, the winged horse, can outrun the watch’s power and correct time’s course. Ciera explains that the reason she and Ariane have both gone into hiding is to escape Duvessa, who stole away Eve’s father from Ariane. Ciera beseeches Eve to return to the states and reclaim the crystal bracelet before Duvessa can find it get a hold of it, because there is only 24 hours until the clock will run down. The new course of time will only enhance Duvessa’s powers. Ciera leads Eve into a cave to find the crystals that are needed to complete the wand, but a cascade of rocks fall onto Ciera and she is killed.
Back at home, Eve is pleased, despite her worries, that Chase seems to have missed her, and he gets the crystal watch back from Avery when she refuses to return it. Jocelyn and Eve are shocked to discover that Jocelyn’s mother turned Eve into the authorities; she also has a horseback riding background. When Jocelyn talks her mother into taking them riding, Eve performs a clearing spell, and Eve’s mother is revealed as Duvessa the witch, and Bram, the horse, grazes in a nearby field.
Duvessa reveals that Jocelyn is her biological daughter who was stolen away by Ariane and adopted. Jocelyn seems pleased to finally know her real mother (she didn’t know she was adopted, but it makes sense). Avery and Chase, who got a ride with Chase’s older brother, drive up, and Avery runs to her horse. When Duvessa tries to stop her, Avery instinctually performs a freezing spell. Duvessa easily deflects it, but Chase, who is also trying to reach the horse, is electrocuted by its force. As Duvessa turns to claim Bram, Eve and Avery simultaneously blast her with a time trance, and Duvessa is forced to reveal the whereabouts of Eve’s and Jocelyn’s mothers, which turns out to be in the clock tower at the Smithsonian. Avery, Eve, and Jocelyn jump on the winged horse, which takes off toward the setting sun. After an explosion of light, they all tumble off, bursting through the door at Dumbarton Oaks. They look at Avery’s cell phone time, and it’s running normally.
When both mothers are freed, Eve’s mother reveals that Eve and Avery are half-sisters. Duvessa stole Ariane’s husband, a master clockmaker, but then killed him after she had his child and he was unable to produce a replica of the enchanted crystal watch that Ariane had in her possession. When Duvessa abandoned Avery to foster care, Ariane gave Avery to an American businessman, who, in turn, arranged Ariane’s passage to America. Ariane set it up so that if Duvessa ever got close, Jocelyn would appear to be her biological daughter to throw Duvessa off the track. Because Eve and Avery shared the same father, their bloodlines were united and their power was exponentiated; thus, they were able to knock the witch into a time trance. Duvessa was taken to a hospital by paramedics where she stayed in a coma, along with Chase. A door is open to a sequel; Avery and Eve, although half-sisters, are still enemies and blame each other for Chase’s coma, and Jocelyn is jealous of their relationship. How will they work out these relationship triangles and manage their witch powers as they continue on in their Freshman year?
I suspect that I got carried away with the synopsis. Although I diligently worked on paring it down, I found it difficult not to recount many of the events. They all seemed important, and it was challenging to keep it to plot points. All the events seemed like plot events. I will take feedback if anyone sees a way to keep it just to major plot points (although I also have to say that the sample synopsis that Yardley includes in the appendix is quite detailed, as well).