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Title: The Silver WitchSpring Book Review Button
Author: Paula Brackston
ISBN: 9781250028792
No. of Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy
Origins: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: 21 April 2015


“A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each other’s, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more.”

Thoughts on the Novel: It is not that The Silver Witch is a bad novel. Tilda is a decent heroine who learns that she can survive on her own in spite of her grief. Seren is incredibly independent and powerful in her own right without the inclusion of magic. However,  there are some issues with the story though that may prevent readers from thoroughly enjoying their reading experience.

For one, there is a significant lack of historical background. Readers are thrust into Seren’s world without any warning, other than a chapter heading, and provided no context. Through clues, readers will be able to discern approximately when Seren’s story occurs, and later scenes with Tilda confirm the exact date. However, by this time, it is too late as readers struggle to understand the politics and sociological issues at play for Seren.

Then, the pacing of the novel is too frenetic. Tilda goes from grief-stricken widow to love-struck powerful witch in a matter of weeks without any apparent struggle or major development. She is also able to overcome her phobias and other problems suddenly and with little drama or fanfare. While no one expects complete realism in a story involving magic and mythical creatures, there is an expectation that the non-fantasy elements occur in a realistic fashion. In The Silver Witch, this does not occur. The frequency with which readers must suspend disbelief is disconcerting.

The Silver Witch is a perfectly acceptable novel for someone looking for a very light fantasy/romance novel. The romance is decent; the female empowerment is even better. Ms. Brackston’s novels remain popular, so she is striking the right chord with her target audience. However, there is a lack of depth or development that may turn off some readers. For that reason, among others, one should approach The Silver Witch with caution.

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

BOTTOM LINE: I don’t see the appeal, but her books are popular for a reason, even if that reason fails me right now.

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