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Literary Friday: The Witch's Daughter

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Friday!  I have received so many sweet emails this week, and I want all of y'all to know how grateful I am to you.  I will be busy with meetings today, and I hope that this weekend will prove to be relaxing.  I have missed visiting your blogs this week, but I have plenty of time over the weekend to visit y'all, and I cannot wait to make a big pot of tea, and relax!


This week, I read The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston.  I thought it would be a fun read for Halloween.  This book is part historical romance, part thriller, and part modern fantasy. Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith is a witch who survived the English witch trials in the early seventeenth century.  Elizabeth's mother, Anne, sacrifices herself so her daughter can live. Both are accused of witchcraft because they survived a plague that wiped out their entire family as well as others in their village.  Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Anne really did make a deal with the devil as she asked for Gideon Master's help in saving her daughter.  Gideon is a powerful warlock who is incredibly evil.  He decides he wants Elizabeth as his mate, and so the chase through time begins.

Elizabeth is a good "hedge witch" and she wants nothing to do with the dark arts.  She studies hard, and she learns all she can about healing both traditionally and through her craft. Whenever Elizabeth moves and begins a new life, she keeps a journal documenting her life and it becomes her Book of Shadows.  For example, she becomes a surgeon during the Victorian era in Jack the Ripper's London.  He seems to stalk her prostitute patients from her Whitechapel clinic and cut them with the precision of a surgeon.  Also, Gideon appears to claim her in a very surprising guise.

Fast forward to the French battlefields of World War I.  Elizabeth has found love in the arms of a Scottish officer, and yet she cannot stop herself from using magic to ease the suffering of the wounded soldiers.  Any tiny bit of magic attracts the attention of Gideon, but Elizabeth, being the ultimate healer, bravely uses her magic anyway.

Today, Elizabeth is living in a small English village.  She only wants to tend her cottage garden, and make her lotions, potions, and remedies to sell at a local market.  A lonely teenager named Teagan befriends Elizabeth, and Elizabeth begins training Teagan as a hedge witch.  Elizabeth knows that this practice could be dangerous: she does not want to attract the attention of Gideon because she wants to protect Teagan at all costs.  Obviously, if an evil warlock is chasing a character through time, it cannot end well for everyone.  I thought the ending was satisfying, but I would love to know more about Teagan and what happens to her, and what she becomes.  The reader is just getting to know Teagan at the very end, which is sad because I think there is more to the story.  Teagan finds Elizabeth's Book of Shadows, and contributes a final entry.

Most of the story is told in flashback.  Elizabeth tells Teagan her story through the centuries as a lesson about resisting the dark arts.  I found Teagan's character to be a little flat until the end, but in all fairness, most teenagers are secretive and do not share all aspects of their lives.  One interesting thing about this book is that some witches are exactly what their accusers say they are, and it is biblically based.  Satanic influences and demons are a big part of the story, and I found it frighteningly creepy.  But on the other hand, there are witches who are not evil, and are part of a sisterhood that seems rather benign.  I think that the world Paula Brackston created in this book is atypical of most books about witches.

Note to my British readers:  This book is entitled The Book of Shadows in the UK. The cover looks like this:


What have you been reading this week?  I started a hysterically funny book entitled Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.  After the week I've had I needed something fun and light! I cannot wait to write about it next week.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. I like the sound of both these books, I really like the cover of the first,, cool boots,,I have opened a new blog , I hope you can find me,,

  2. Oh this one I am going to have to read! I just finished a book and started reviewing one for a possible read along I am planning.

    I also moved the Infernal Devices book that I have way up on my list of to reads. Question, I have the series she started writing before Infernal Devices, it sounds like it is a prequil to the Infernal Devices books, do you know?

    Have a great weekend!

  3. this looks gooood! gonna have to read this one! i'm reading "the soldier's wife" and it's really good so far. it's about a woman in france during wwII. her husband is off at war and the germans occupy france and the woman falls for a german soldier...oh the drama! it's a good reading day...rainy and chilly. :)

    ps: your banner is on it's way! i hope you like it!! :)

  4. Thanks SO much! This one is on my 'to-read' list, and I'm glad to hear it's a good read. :)
    I just started Meg Wolitzer's The Uncoupling, and it's fairly compelling thus far.

  5. Hmmm... sounding good! I love image on the cover!

  6. Mice by Gordon Reece, don't let the title fool you. The story takes place in England of course, my favorite place about a girl named Shelley who allows herself to be bullied by her previous best friends. It's a little dark.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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