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April 14, 2015 / ljbradburn-Smith

The Witch’s Daughter


I won’t deny it, it was the word ‘Witch’ that drew me to this novel. The mysterious and intangible nature of magic has always fascinated me and, like many a child before me, I dared to dream that a Hogwarts letter was just delayed in the post and would reach me at any minute.

The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston, tells the story of Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Hawksmith who has spent the vast majority of her 384 years, on Earth, running for her life.

Brackston had me hooked from the first page. She immediately creates a flurry of action by plunging the reader in to the middle of her young protagonist escaping some unidentified danger. In these few short pages we can almost taste Bess’s fear and desperation, but, before we find out what hounds her, we are whisked away to a sleepy English village, where Elizabeth, now 384, resides alone in a secluded cottage.

As Elizabeth’s story unfolds, throughout the novel, the reader learns that she lost her mother during the witch hunt hysteria that swept the country in 1628. Soon after, Elizabeth was forced to make a choice between embracing the magic that her mother died because of or suffering the same fate herself. The consequences of the choice she makes are far more disturbing than she could ever have imagined and, forced to flee across the centuries, Bess is in constant danger of becoming a prisoner of her own power.

The novel is told through the eyes of Elizabeth, at various points in her life, and although the story is broken up in to different sections, and there are several stories interwoven throughout the plot as a whole, Brackston never drops the ball. When reading other novels, with a similar format, I have often found myself more drawn to one particular plotline/era/character’s story over the others and been frustrated when I am forced to change perspectives, but this was definitely not the case when reading this novel. I can pinky promise that there was absolutely no page skipping to be had as I was equally enchanted by each story, within the story, and thought they were fused together in perfect literary harmony.

Paula has a wonderful talent for making her stories come alive, and with her full and rich depictions of her characters, in The Witch’s Daughter, she makes them appear as though they transcend the pages, which in one particular character’s case is an extremely creepy thought. In Bess’ case though, her warmth, compassion and abilty to love, despite all obstacles, make her a thoroughly sympathetic protaganist who epitomizes the force of good in its constant struggle against evil. There’s absolutely no doubt that she has been added to a list of my fictional besties (and not only because I really want to learn magic).

So once again this novel has proved that the magical world holds an allure that I am powerless to resist and thanks to Brackston I now have a new author hero. As much as I believe that writing can be taught there are some people who were just born to do it and it’s times like these when i’m just glad I can read. Gush and review over 😉



Leave a Comment
  1. Book Club Mom / Apr 15 2015 1:05 am

    This sounds good!

    • ljbradburn / Apr 15 2015 8:23 am

      Looking at your blog and the kind of books you like to read I think it could well be your kind of thing 🙂 Hope you enjoy it if you do read it! Let me know how you get on 🙂 x

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