The Qwillery | category: Paula Brackston


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Spring Equinox Tour - Review: The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston

The Midnight Witch
Author:  Paula Brackston
Publisher:  Thomas Dunne Books, March 25, 2014
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages
List Price:  $25.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781250006080 (print)
Review Copy:  ARC Provided by the Publisher

Midnight is the most bewitching hour of them all…

From Paula Brackston, the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch, comes a magical tale that is as dark as it is enchanting. Set in high society Edwardian England, The Midnight Witch is the story of a young witch who faces the choice between love and loyalty to her coven…

"The dead are seldom silent. All that is required for them to be heard is that someone be willing to listen. I have been listening to the dead all my life."

Lady Lilith Montgomery is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch.

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes on his title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her engagement to her childhood friend and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt.

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves.

To tell him will risk everything.

Qwill Thoughts

Paula Brackston continues her novels about witches with The Midnight Witch, which takes us from London in 1913 to in London in 1919 or from pre-WWI London to post-WWI London. This is a story about expectations - societal expectations for Lilith; the Coven's expectations for Lilith, and her own expectations. It's a novel about one group's battles against another - the Lazarus Coven versus the Sentinels. It's also a novel about change and at its very heart about love.

Brackston excels at placing her main characters under stress. Lilith Montgomery spends the entire novel grappling with those expectations - society's, the Coven's, and her own. The young woman and witch, 21 years old at the beginning of the novel, is a far cry from the woman and witch that she becomes at the end of the novel. It is not an easy path for her. She changes both from maturation and from being put through very difficult situations. She is sometimes confused by what she should do, but always has the best intentions. Things sometimes don't work out as expected of course and she must deal with the consequences of her actions. I really like Lilith. She's not perfect and she learns and grows throughout the novel to become an independent and very strong woman.

Lilith's main love interest, Bram, is a wonderful character who also changes and grows over the course of the novel. He too faces expectations - his family's versus his own. He wants to be an artist. His father wants him to work in the family business. It's interesting to see him struggle with his expectations for his art. Bram is not a nobleman, which presents problems with regard to his love of Lilith of course. In addition Lilith is engaged to Viscount Louis Harcourt, which presents additional problems for Bram... and for Lilith.

Brackston does not skimp when it comes the superb cast of secondary characters. All of them are incredibly memorable. There is also mystery and some surprises in the novel. The Midnight Witch is told from the points of view of 3 of the characters - Lilith, Bram and Nicholas Strickland (who you should read the novel to learn about!).

The world of The Midnight Witch is beautifully created with the lush writing that I found in Brackston's previous Witch novels. I was drawn immediately into The Midnight Witch and was immersed in the story until the very exciting and unexpected end.

Note that each of the 'Witch' novels by Paula Brackston is a complete standalone.

About Paula

Red Dog Media
PAULA BRACKSTON is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch. She lives halfway up a Brecon Beacon in Wales with her partner and their two children.

Website  ~  Facebook

Wattpad: Read a free serialized novel - Lamp Black
Polyvore board inspired by The Midnight Witch

Winter Solstice Tour - Review: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

The Winter Witch
Author:  Paul Brackston
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin, December 24, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages
List Price: $15.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781250042705 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher
Previously published in Hardcover

In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana, who has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see her married, and Cai Jenkins, a widower from the far hills, seems the best choice.

After her wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving her mother, and wary of this man, whom she does not know, and who will take her away to begin a new life. But she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the wild mountains that surround it. Cai works to understand the beautiful, half-tamed creature he has chosen for a bride, and slowly, he begins to win Morgana’s affections. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana. Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.

Qwill's Thoughts:

Set in 1830 Wales, Ms. Brackston populates The Winter Witch with memorable characters, each interesting in their own right, though not all of them likable. The main characters, Morgana and Cai Jenkins, start their marriage as nearly complete strangers. The story focuses on their relationship and their relationship to Cai's (and now Morgana's) home, Ffynnon Las. 

Morgana does not speak but makes herself clear to others through gestures some subtle some not. Her lack of speech, her wildness and her affinity with nature make her the subject of curiosity, then eventually fear by the local people.  Morgana's lack of speech is a struggle at first for Cai. He does not know how to react to her at times. Both Cai and Morgana make mistakes with each other because of this lack of verbal communication. Fortunately Morgana has the help the lovely Mrs. Jones, who is both aunt and housekeeper to Cai.  She helps Morgana settle into her new life in ways that Cai can not.

I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Morgana and Cai develop over the course of the novel. They are both resilient, imperfect characters. The secondary characters are well-developed and catalysts for much of what happens in the novel. Ms. Brackston gives us a detailed view of the lives of the people surrounding Morgana and Cai. This is a novel that is wonderfully researched, but the historical aspects of the novel never bog down the story, but rather enhance and entertain.

The Winter Witch is written in the third person alternating with Morgana's point of view. I don't believe Morgana's character, complexity or struggles would have been so clear had we not gotten to see what she was thinking. The changes in POV are well done and never jarring. Ms. Brackston's storytelling and writing style are captivating.

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston is replete with lush landscapes, historical detail, magic, and extraordinary characters. There is intrigue, mystery, and murder, but at its heart The Winter Witch is a thoroughly enchanting love story.

About Paula

Red Dog Media
PAULA BRACKSTON is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch. She lives halfway up a Brecon Beacon in Wales with her partner and their two children.

Website  ~  Facebook

Wattpad: Read a free serialized novel - Lamp Black
Polyvore board inspired by The Winter Witch
Read an excerpt of The Winter Witch here.

The VIew From Monday - December 16, 2013

Happy Monday! I hope that everyone had a good weekend. I spent part of the weekend reading The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, but more on that tomorrow. 

The VIew From Monday - December 16, 2013

It's a light release week with no debuts. Shadowdance (Darkest London 4) by Kristen Callihan is out tomorrow. Kirsten was featured in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.

December 15, 2013
Singularities: Technoculture, Transhumanism, and Science Fiction in the 21st Century Joshua Raulerson LC - Liverpool Science Fiction Texts & Studies Series 45

December 17, 2013
Open Graves, Open Minds: Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day Samantha George (ed)
Bill Hughes (ed)
Board Stiff Piers Anthony F - Xanth 38
Shadowdance Kristen Callihan PHR - Darkest London 4
Turn Down the Lights Richard Chizmar (ed) H - Anthology
The Hexslinger Omnibus (e) Gemma Files WW - Hexslinger
The Invisible Code Christopher Fowler PM - Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery 10
Colder than Hell, Evil to Burn, and Streets of Blood Lee Goldberg
William Rabkin
H - The Dead Man 6
When It's A Jar Tom Holt F/Hu
Reaver Larissa Ione PNR - Demonica 10
Bane of Malekith William King F - Warhammer: Tyrion & Teclis 3
Prospero Regained (h2tp) L. Jagi Lamplighter F - Prospero's Daughter 3
Sketcher in the Rye (e) Sharon Pape PCM -  Portrait of Crime Mystery 4
Dragon Awakened Jaime Rush PNR - Hidden 1
Rise Again Below Zero Ben Tripp Z  - Rise Again 2

December 18, 2013
Lady into Fox (ri) David Garnett FT

e - eBook
h2tp - Hardcover to Trade Paperback
ri - reprint or reissue

F - Fantasy
FT - Fairy Tale
H - Horror
Hu - Humor
LC - Literary Criticism
PCM - Paranormal Cozy Mystery
PHR - Paranormal Historical Romance
PM - Paranormal Mystery
PNR - Paranormal Romance
Z - Zombies
The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston - Excerpt and GiveawayReview of The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston and Giveaway - April 15, 2015Spotlight: The Midnight Witch and The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston and Giveaway - March 26, 2015Spring Equinox Tour - Review: The Midnight Witch by Paula BrackstonWinter Solstice Tour - Review: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston The VIew From Monday - December 16, 2013

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