Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

Fledgling witch Morgana must defend her love, her home, and her life in this enthralling tale perfect for fans of Discovery of Witches

In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can't quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Bevan, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.

Paula Brackston's debut novel, The Witch's Daughter, was the little book that could—with a captivating story, remarkable heroine, and eye-catching package, it has now netted over 40,000 copies in all formats. Now Paula returns with The Winter Witch, another enchanting tale of love and magic, featuring her signature blend of gorgeous writing, a fabulous and intriguing historical backdrop, and a headstrong and relatable heroine readers will cheer for.

~Owned as Kindle eBook; 352 pages~

"I was seven years old and had a dragon for a father."

This was a very unique book, to say the least. When I first encountered this book on Goodreads, I knew I had to get it right away. I started reading it that very night, and I was shocked a few pages into the book. Not due to the content, but the writing style. It was that dull writing I sometimes mention with other books. It's in no way bad, but with a story like this, it doesn't do anything to help spur on the excitement. The writing made me feel like the author was the narrator, telling us what the characters were saying and thinking in a lifeless, monotone voice. The low quantity of dialogue (since Morgana can't speak) and the rural setting also probably added to this sense of...not much excitement.

The Winter Witch is not at all what I had expected it to be. I will admit that this was a bit of a disappointment since I was hoping for so much more, but it wasn't a bad reading experience. The fact that Morgana couldn't talk reminded me of Judith from All The Truth That's in Me (see here for review), not only because their lack of speaking, but because they both had so many things going on inside of them, but no way to vent it. I'd hate to live like that; I'm a natural kicker and screamer, so I'm really glad I have an outlet. Morgana, unlike me, isn't a yeller, but a puncher. As in, whenever she gets freaked out, she's going to get violent, though not psycho violent. I don't understand how Cai could stand her punches whenever she got extremely emotional, but that just goes to show how perfect they are for each other. Morgana is really kid-like, and Cai, though more responsible, has a bit of that same innocence about him. It's was cute really, though not too useful when it was time to face Miss Evil (I'll leave you guessing on that one).

Cai was a gentle man, and a sad one at that. Sure he had his huge farm and the trust of his fellow villagers, but he was devastated over the death of his wife, and lived a dismal existence. When he finds Morgana, everything changes for him, and though he's often annoyed as heck by her, it's obvious from the very beginning that all he wants to do is please her, love her, and hopefully, be loved in return. Girls, I can tell you're all awwwing over that man right now;) I have to agree though, he really had almost no faults whatsoever. For one he never shames his wife in public. Two, he never criticizes her for her lack of house-wife skills. Three, he takes his wife's side on almost everything. Four, he isn't afraid. Five, he's just a really good man, sweet and caring and all that. Truly, Morgana could not have had better.

After hearing me talk about how boring the writing was and how unnatural (but still kind of boring) Morgana was, you're probably expecting me to just bury the book with my degrading words and then cover it up with dirt (or snow, since it suits this book better), right? Well, then I'm sorry, but you're wrong. I know, it surprised me too. Even with all the drawbacks I listed, the plot was impressive, and sometimes I found the words on the pages, um, the screen, so fascinating that I couldn't look away. Don't get me wrong, more than half of the time it wasn't the least bit hard to put my Kindle down and just go back to sleep, and yes, I had to kind of skim until the grand finale finally happened, but there's just something in the language and storyline that had me mesmerized. It was a beautiful book, and I'm sure many other people - especially Amish fans - would devour this book. Me, I'm too modern and scandalous. There's just not enough excitement in this book for me to fall in love with it. I was expecting something more YA, and though this is tagged YA on several sites, it doesn't really seem to be so.

I feel a bit bad about this, but I found myself chuckling after finishing the book and reading that Paula has a master's degree in creative writing. Now before you all get huffy and disapproving of me, let me finish. I wasn't laughing at her, but at the fact that when I thought about it for a moment, I realized how creative her writing truly was. I could even imagine it in a creative writing high school class: "Students, today's assignment will be to write a short story using little to no dialogue, but make it captivate readers so they keep on reading." Ha! I guess Paula really is a bit of a genius:D
Title: The Winter Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Released January 29, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Magic

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