Book: The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011
Genre: Literature, Historical Fiction
Recommend: For those who crave a non-traditional historical fiction.
Book Pro’s: Utterly surprising.
Book Con’s: Antagonist was a stereotypical ‘bad guy’ or ‘villain’.
Favourite Line: “Better foolish and honest than clever and false.”
I’ll admit that I was compelled to read this novel because of it’s book cover. It’s simple, intriguing and yet, I have no clue how it relates to the book. It builds mystery. Yes.
It’s set in the hay day of burning England, where women are easily taken for witches and the plague runs rampant. I am rarely attracted to this setting, so for this author to develop a sound setting that is both traditional and captivating, is wonderful I think.
I’m working on making my reviews shorter. Why? I rarely read long reviews, so I’m giving up this notion that a good review is a long one. No, from now on each of my reviews will be max, 250 words and then guess what? My mini-reviews will be even shorter, we’re talking 100 to 150 words. Why is this relevant? Because if I have to convince you to read a book in more than 250 words, you either don’t want to read the book, or you’re really bored and better off reading my Harry Potter rants! This is my new mantra. Hear me roar.
All of this aside, let us get down to the nitty and gritty of The Witch’s Daughter. It’s got a high rating you see and that’s because this book completely caught me by surprise. It was a true, true treat! When I picked this up, I expected a traditional Historical Fiction novel. I expected the usual Jamestown-styled setting and a poor woman being accused of being a witch with much pain, burning and screaming.
What I got was this amazing blend of historical fiction, magic realism, fantasy and excellent prose. The novel is told from Elizabeth’s perspective as we jump from the past to the present day. In The Witch’s Daughter, magic is very much real, alive and beautifully kicking. It’s also given Elizabeth a semi-tortured immortality.
The novel has the usual bad guy, in fact, this bad guy spurns on most of the plot as the different chapters reveal Elizabeth’s life as she attempts to escape from his evil clutches. It’s a tad clichéd, I must admit but Brackston makes up for this by being an excellent writer. I devoured this book in one sitting and I was absolutely enthralled at every twist, corner and turn. I don’t believe there was a single moment where my attention waned or cracked (and I have a really horrible attention span). Ultimately, the book is beautifully written, and the characters are likeable, well fleshed out and surprising. If you’d like to read a non-traditional historical fiction, hop onto this bandwagon fast.