A predecessor of J.K. Rowling’s, Eva Ibbotson wrote 16 children’s books and 7 adult / young adult books. Best known is The Secret of Platform 13 due its parallels with Rowling’s Harry Potter series (published three years later). On the plus side, The Secret of Platform 13 features a strong, assertive heroine; on the minus side, the young male heir hero is more of a sweet Cinderella than a slightly flawed Harry Potter. Secret is 3/4ths the length of the first Harry Potter and is self-contained: no need to set up the sequels but for all that it’s not as satisfying. That said the Roald Dahl books are even better.
Which Witch? sss