Another title from the good folks at Harlequin Teen via Edelweiss. Also another title added to my NetGalley November totals!
In this, the first of a trilogy that features a Tudor-Era witch, Victoria Lamb capably presents a young witch, Meg, in service to Elizabeth, exiled half-sister of Queen Mary. While many Tudor-era stories focus on Henry VIII or the court intrigue: this story is more focused on events that are relevant to the protagonist and her machinations as she learns her craft.
A bit frustrating as an adult to read, as Meg is very much a headstrong, willful and impulsive young woman, prone to act first and think later, if at all. Rather, her lack of rational, adult behavior is on clear display with the first person narration. First person narration is tricky, while the thoughts do feel like they are portrayed realistically; the repetition and perseveration when frustrated expose the reader to several passages of oft-repeated woes, complaints and lists of grudges that the forward motion of the story is severely impeded. Despite those issues, it was hard not to like Meg: admirably loyal to Elizabeth, brave and utterly without guile, she is endearing and often like a puppy: it’s too hard to stay annoyed with her for long.
And, that is fortunate, because in the mid-16th century, witchcraft was a punishable offense: with the devoutly Catholic Mary on the throne, and her well-documented dislike and fear of the younger, prettier and seemingly more likable Elizabeth, spies loyal to Mary are always angling for esteemed positions by carrying tales to the Queen about the goings on. Elizabeth knows that Meg is a witch, and frequently consults her for information and foretelling, but the two have a bond that is solid and friendly, despite the difference in social position.
And there are spies or those friendlier to the crown dispatched: first in the form of Alejandro a Spaniard with whom she has a romantic interest. He is in training for the priesthood, so total devotion and all time is not devoted to this romance. Yet, it is shuffled off in a weird series of “oh he likes me , I think I love him” moments of separation and dreamy girl-crush moments the story tends to jump about a bit in favor of Meg’s narration and thoughts. The other danger to Meg is Marcus, a witch hunter who she wastes long passages in telling us how despicable he is to her. With other characters popping in and out, and Meg’s questionable ability to sort friend from foe, there are moments that stretch imagination to the breaking point, but enjoyable nonetheless.
What emerges is a story that will appeal to younger readers that can identify with Meg, and are better able to put reality aside and just enjoy the ride of the story, and accept the great changes that the reader must accept in this story.
Author: Victoria Lamb
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction, Teen Reads, Witches
Published by: Harlequin
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 20 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible
If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned. If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged.
Meg Lytton has always known she is different;that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Edelweiss titles count toward this challenge.