Title: The Witch’s Daughter
Author: Paula Brackston
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers’ market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories—and demons—long thought forgotten.
Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.
Paula Brackston is quickly becoming a staple on my virtual bookshelf! This is the third book I’ve read by her (second I’ve listened to), and I have to say I absolutely love how she writes about witches.
The Witch’s Daughter is an interestingly written story, told in the form of journal entries and flashbacks. For most of it, it didn’t feel like a single novel but an anthology of stories strung together by a common thread – the single character of Elizabeth Hawksmith. This made the book fairly easy to put down in between recollections of Elizabeth’s past lives, and that’s really the only reason I docked a star. The pacing of the main story was odd, if only because Tegan and Elizabeth’s story in the present kept being interrupted by the retellings of Elizabeth’s past. I would have been content with entire books dedicated to each of Elizabeth’s lives – each time period felt vivid and real, with the different characters coming to life in their own way. I’m hoping the sequel is a little more linear, and gives us more time with the characters in the present.
Since I listened to this one on Audible, I can’t write this review without mentioning how absolutely awesome the narrator for it was. Marisa Calin is an amazing voice actress, and she brings a dimension to the characters that really make them come alive. I found myself forgetting that it was a single person doing all the voices – that’s how awesome she is. Her voice acting alone is reason enough to listen to the rest of Paula Brackston’s work, rather than reading it.
Here’s to adding more Paula Brackston to my reading list in 2020!