Author: Paula Brackston
Morgana has always been peculiar to outsiders: a quiet girl, who refuses to speak, different from everyone else. Morgana has tried her best to keep the power that stirs inside her at bay. When her mother promises her hand to a stranger, Morgana is heartbroken. Cai Jenkins, a young widower, has no idea the young woman he is to marry carries a powerful magic within her. Morgana’s new home, Flynnon Las, holds its own magic and someone is determined to take it. As Morgana and Cai grow closer, the threat grows more and more pernicious . Morgana will have to learn to harness her own power if she is to save all she has come to love.
“The fly all of a sudden swoops down toward her, buzzing and darting at her face. Without being in the least bit disturbed, Isolda lifts her hand as if to calmly swat it away. At least, this is what she allows Cai to see. I, however, have a closer view, and witness her trap the fly in her hand, silencing it with a deft squeeze so that its life juices seep out between her fingers. All the while she never once takes her cold eyes from me.”
Having been silent since she was a girl, Morgana is quickly misunderstood by those who do not know her. It is natural for people to fear what they do not understand, but it is entirely unfair to Morgana who cannot speak for herself. But I must assert that quiet does not mean docile and Morgana, despite her silence, is a swirling whirlwind, so much so that Cai calls her “my wild one.” Isolda is a worthy antagonist, contrasting Morgana’s untamed ways with her own sophistication. And truly frightening as her true nature becomes more apparent. She’d have me running, but Morgana has a tenacious strength that makes it impossible for her to walk away.
Morgana and Cai’s relationship does not come easy. There are moments of frustration on both sides, in which they are both guilty of misunderstanding the other. But Cai is patient with Morgana and his gentle exterior eventually wins her over. It is their relationship that makes it possible for Morgana to overcome the evil threatening them both.
Though I found Paula Brackston’s The Winter Witch enjoyable, the pacing at times was too slow. Many times I was impatient for something to happen. I cannot recall the last time I read a book written in present-tense, but found that it took some time to get used to, but Brackston’s writing can be quite beautiful. Missing from the book was an explanation for Morgana’s silence, which we know is somehow tied to the disappearance of her father, but which we are never fully privy to.