Book Review: The Witch of Willow Hall


Title: The Witch of Willow Hall
Author: Hester Fox
Rating:


An astonishing debut from an exciting new voice in historical fiction, The Witch of Willow Hall (on-sale October 3, 2018, trade paperback, Graydon House Books, 9781525833014) delivers memorable and atmospheric witchcraft themes, resulting in an addictive story about strange powers, fierce love, family secrets, and how the past haunts us in ways that demand to be seen.

Perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman (The Rules of Magic), Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell) and Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches), readers will devour this immersive historical novel and root for a heroine who must struggle to come to terms with her place in the world, and the surprising doors a newfound power can open.

Inspired by true historical facts & places (page 3) in the New England area, when not writing, debut author Fox works in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician.

***

Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences, but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall.

The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

My Review

How would you like to know something is different and yet you have no idea what it is? How would you like to be a witch yet have no training on how to control your powers? How would you feel to find out that your older sister was trying to get married because she was pregnant and when you find out who the father is it shocks the daylights out of you? Then to make matters worse you lose a very close loved one and that you accidentally due to your unknown & unlearned powers keep with you instead of sending her through the veil? Your mother is no help and is so far out of it that she is so fragile you are afraid that if she has to handle anything she will break into a million pieces, so you do your best to clean up all the family messes. Does not sound fun does it? To make matters worse the entire family is forced out of their home due to rumors (which will shock you when you realize what those rumors are) and to a back water small community where the rumors have followed you. This is what Lydia goes through with her sisters, Catherine (older) & Emeline (younger).

Then to top it off the property that they live on already has ghosts and odd things that has happened to it in the past. Lydia does her best to handle things, but just when it seems all has failed and she must make the biggest sacrifice of all things are finally revealed to her and it work out. This book held my attention and was quite difficult for me to put down at times. I do recommend reading it.

 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.

Book Review: The Lost Queen


Title: The Lost Queen
Author: Signe Pike
Rating:


The Mists of Avalon meets the world of Philippa Gregory in the thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy that reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin.

I write because I have seen the darkness that will come. Already there are those who seek to tell a new history…

In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot. And even as her family faces the burgeoning forces of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxons, bent on colonization, are encroaching from the east. When conflict brings the hero Emrys Pendragon to her father’s door, Languoreth finds love with one of his warriors. Her deep connection to Maelgwn is forged by enchantment, but she is promised in marriage to Rhydderch, son of a Christian king. As Languoreth is catapulted into a world of violence and political intrigue, she must learn to adapt. Together with her brother—a warrior and druid known to history as Myrddin—Languoreth must assume her duty to fight for the preservation of the Old Way and the survival of her kingdom, or risk the loss of them both forever.

Based on new scholarship, this tale of bravery and conflicted love brings a lost queen back to life—rescuing her from obscurity, and reaffirming her place at the center of one of the most enduring legends of all time.

My Review

This book reminded me completely of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley almost to the point of retelling the story completely just set in a few years ahead of The Mists of Avalon, but that is my opinion. You will find most of the same characters in this book, but you have to figure out who they are. This books is long and at spots quite slow, but it is worth the read. It gives you another look of how Christianity came and over took (destroyed) the old religion (very unfortunate and cruel, in my opinion). The story line was very informative and you really felt you were there with Languoreth and her family fighting for the old religion and trying to work alongside the Christian monks even though the monks wanted nothing but to obliterate the old religion. I highly enjoyed this book and would not have been disappointed if I had purchased it. I can not wait to see the next book in the series.

 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.