Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Witch's Daughter
Thomas Dunne Books
January 18, 2011
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn't know she had and making her immortal. She couldn't have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers' market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories—and demons—long thought forgotten.
…Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble…
Just in time for Halloween, my book club and I decided to check out a slightly spooky book, that we could discuss over pumpkin spice lattes at the local coffee shop. We chose to check out The Witch’s Daughter based mainly on the title and cover art, and this is one of the rare occasions in which this method for choosing a book actually worked out favorably!
While not perfect, this is a book that will not disappoint, and it has me sufficiently hooked that I am planning to read the rest of the series. So first the cons. Because the book is written from the perspective of someone born in the 1600’s, a lot of the language is very formal, and at times stiff. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you adjust it fades away as a concern. There was also a point, about half way through, where I became slightly disinterested, but this only lasted for maybe 20 pages, and then I was drawn right back in. These two factors were what made me deduct half a star from my rating, but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading.
Now, on to the many things that I loved about this book. First off, it is a jaunt across some truly fascinating time periods, from witch hunts and the plague in the 1600’s, to Jack the Ripper’s London, to WWI-era France, and finally to the present day. The book is a collage of flashbacks in the main character, Bess’ life, and her present day dealings with her pupil, Tegan. The flashbacks are told in the form of narration, while the present day is told through journal entries, which I found to be an enjoyable juxtapositions. Both in the narrations and in the journal entries, is the insidious lurking presence of Bess’ nemesis, Gideon the warlock. Gideon is just scary enough to be worrisome and loathsome, but doesn’t make the book cross over into a horror story…his main calling card is that he feeds off of evil, and is obsessed with owning Bess, body and soul. Bess meanwhile, is a likeable heroine; she is brave, but not so much as to be unbelievable, and she is very pure and good, while occasionally allowing herself to be temped by the darkness. I definitely found myself wishing she could just catch a break at many points in the book, and her suffering in the WWI flashback actually shattered me for a good while.
The Witch’s Daughter could stand alone, as it’s ending is succinct, and ties up the lose ends, while still providing the perfect setup for the next book in the series. So whether you are looking for a good one-time paranormal read, or looking for a new series to be hooked on, I would recommend checking this book out! Happy Halloween, or as Bess might say, Happy Samhain!
Meghan is a coffee connoisseur, devoted milspouse, and exhausted momma to a three year old daughter and three dogs. She enjoys hiking, glamping, and traveling. You are mostly likely to find her reading good books in a hammock with a view of the ocean or mountains.