What first brought my eye to The Winter Witch was this arresting cover. When I went to add it to my list, I discovered that I had already put Paula Brackston’s earlier book “The Witch’s Daughter” on there as well. Sometimes I just like to read a well-written witch story and this one looked like it would fit the bill. Then I saw it was available on audio! And what a spectacular treat for the ears that was! More on that later, but honestly, if you want the full pleasure package for The Winter Witch, you must listen to it! Here’s a clip for a brief taste of Marisa Calin’s brilliant work.
Synopsis taken from Paula Brackston’s site: In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She is small and quick and pretty enough to attract a suitor, but there are things that set her apart from other girls. Though her mind is sharp she has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic—the household objects that seem to move at her command, the bad luck that visits those who do her ill. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see Morgana married, and Cai Jenkins, the widowed drover from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumors that swirl around her, 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. Here, where frail humans are at the mercy of the elements, she thrives, her wild nature and her magic blossoming. 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, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything in this beautifully written, enchanting novel.
The Winter Witch was a great little tale about a young woman coming in to her own first in love, and then in her development of her magical gifts. It was made all that much greater by the brilliant and fantastic narration of Marisa Calin. She has taken Brackston’s beautiful language and made it and her characters come to vivid life. Morgana is just a young girl when she is whisked off to marry Cai Jenkins and her narration was perfectly done to give Morgana that younger voice. Not too much mind you, but just right. And her voice for old Mrs. Jones, their housekeeper and the kindly woman that helps Morgana along with her craft is also perfectly rendered. And again, the voice she gives to the evil Isolde was pure delight as well. Isolde was the bad witch intent on casting spells on Morgana and Cai to gain control of the magical well on Cai Jenkins’ land. She actually made her voice lower and take on this evil, sophisticated, low sounding snake-like voice just like the serpent’s body she transforms into in front of Morgana. You really just have to listen to it. It was seriously a 5-star narration. All those Celtic endearments and places and words would have been completely and utterly lost without Calin’s brilliant narration. Marisa Calin has also narrated The Witch’s Daughter, so I’m off to track that down now thank you!
Overall, The Winter Witch was a very enjoyable read. Sit back and let this bewitching tale cast you into the time of Morgana and Cai as they find themselves fighting the evils of another witch to save their home, their land, and discover the great love they have for each other. Good always triumphs over evil! It is a long story mind you, I think it took me close to a month to finish! But again, I can’t say enough about how wonderful the narration was. It truly made this great little story even greater.
This review gives another rightful look in to all you will find and enjoy in The Winter Witch:
“There’s a whiff of Harry Potter in the witchy conflict—a battle between undeveloped young magical talent and old malevolence—at the heart of this sprightly tale of spells and romance, the second novel from British writer Brackston (The Witch’s Daughter, 2011)…. Love of landscape and lyrical writing lend charm, but it’s Brackston’s full-blooded storytelling that will hook the reader.” —Kirkus