A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
After reading author Paula Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter (which was really flipping awesome) I had very high hopes for The Winter Witch and as an end result I was very pleased with it. It was an exciting, refreshing novel that included paranormal aspects that were woven into historical fiction. It was an imaginative read that kept me hooked.
In The Winter Witch we are given both a new main character and a new setting: Morgana, a strange mute-girl who lives in a small Welsh town. When Morgana’s mother’s worries get the better of her she marries Morgana off to widower Cai Jenkins. What Cai doesn’t know is that his new bride is unique in her own away, apart from her mysterious silence, she holds immense power and magic inside of her. After their wedding Morgana is quickly taken to a new home and a new life with Cai. Cai does not want to rush Morgana into anything, trying to be respectful of her and cherish the memory of the first wife he lost.
The last thing Morgana wants is to be involved with her new husband however the farm and wilderness surrounding her new home quickly enchants her. Slowly, Cai begins to try to win Morgana’s heart and prove to her that a life with him won’t be all that bad. Just when things seem to be going good for the both of them the townsfolk begin to notice how out-of-place Morgana is. When somebody more powerful than Morgana can imagine chooses to target her she learns that she must control the power inside of her to keep the people closest to her safe and to defeat this new threat.
Unlike The Witch’s Daughter which told a story that alternated between the past and the present, The Winter Witch is a story that takes place solely in the past. I personally preferred this, however as a reader who has difficulty with getting into historical fiction I was a bit hesitant. As the story continued I quickly noticed that I had nothing to be worried about and that like The Witch’s Daughter this would be a story that would be written in a way that wouldn’t confuse me.
In The Winter Witch my only real complain was with the pacing. There was a lot of times where I would be reading an exciting scene that would be overtaken by descriptions or an exciting scene would pass and be followed by a series of low-points that left my mind wandering away from the story and onto other things. This wasn’t the case in The Witch’s Daughter which left me very surprised while reading The Winter Witch.
A lot of readers who are big fans of realisticly written historical fantasy are going to like The Winter Witch. Multiple times while reading I would actually believe that I was in the time that the story was written in as weird as that sounds just because of how Brackston writes it. Especially in the dialogue where I found the realism to be most potent. Not only do the characters sound like they’re from that time but they also use a lot of Welsh words that made me have to go straight to google-translate so I’d know what I was reading.
Fans of The Witch’s Daughter will enjoy the main cahracters Cai and Morgana. I personally liked watching their romance grow from an arranged-marriage with no involved to slowly become something else entirely. Cai is a brave man who will do anything for his wife despite the barrier between them involving Morgana’s being a mute. When I first got reading I was deterred by the idea of my main character not having any dialogue at all but trust me—Morgana is a memorable character who doesn’t need to speak.
I would recommend The Winter Witch to fans of historical fiction, readers who are interested in a novel that weaves fact and fiction together are going to loveThe Winter Witch. Fans of The Witch’s Daughter should give this read a shot.