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The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston
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The Winter Witch

by Paula Brackston

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4533235,590 (3.5)14
Mute fledgling witch Morgana is married for her safety to a kind farmer in the mountains of Wales before she is targeted by townspeople who are being manipulated by a dark force that compels Morgana to harness her powers.
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» See also 14 mentions

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This book featuring two powerful witches, one evil and one not, is set in rural 19th century Wales. The teenage protagonist, a "natural" witch whose powers are becoming more manifest to the people in her village, unwillingly weds a well-off farmer/widower she doesn't know, who lives a two-day drive away, in a marriage arranged by her mother. The farmer's property includes a sacred well which was once a destination for pilgrimage. The well has magic properties known to few people. For this reason the farm is coveted by a prosperous local woman who is secretly a witch. She had sought to marry the farmer, but he chose the teenager. The plot centers around the evil witch's attempts to disgrace and oust the teenage bride.

Despite the hackneyed plot, I enjoyed this book, because it was fun to follow the character development of the wild young witch, her patient husband who still grieved for his first wife, and their relationship.

I confess I take guilty pleasure in reading many novels about witches and their entanglements and difficulties with the conventional people around them. In fiction, a witch is usually just another type of misfit/loner (albeit one with supernatural powers). I think many of the introverts among us identify with such characters. ( )
  MsRoux | Aug 11, 2019 |
Enjoyable story despite the villain’s plan seemed really dumb by the end. I kept wondering, why go to all this trouble when you might have snared the prize much earlier in the story?

I’m not certain elective mutism works the way it did in this story, but whatever.
  KaterinaBead | Feb 11, 2019 |
I couldn't get myself to finish this book.
I'm not sure if it's the unpredictable changing of POVs without any indication as to whose POV is it exactly or how odd and non-relatable the characters are or maybe the fact that the main character doesn't even speak, but this book just wouldn't do it for me.
I've been trying to finish it for over a month now to no avail, and it only resulted in a horrible reading slump.
Therefore, this will just have to go to the DNF zone. ( )
  Ray_ | Mar 24, 2018 |
I do like the author's writing style - detailed and lush. But storytelling in this book wasn't top notch. I much prefer writers who can surprise me. ( )
  TheBibliophage | Mar 20, 2018 |
This one is likely my least favorite of the Paula Brackston novels I've read (The Silver Witch is my favorite). Set in 19th-century Wales, this book tells the tale of the mute Morgana and her husband Cai Jenkins. Morgana, of course, turns out to have magical abilities and shortly after her marriage discovers both a mentor in the hedge witch who is also her husband's housekeeper and an enemy in a powerful witch in her new community. Fun reading, but very similar to most of this author's other novels. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Feb 10, 2018 |
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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.
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