April 22, 2014

Review: Witchfall

This series is awesome - I love it! Princess Elizabeth + witches = happy reader. This is why I love this series: the magical element with a touch of historical fiction.

And that book cover?! That is a cover that would make me pick this book up in a bookstore or library.

Title: ‘Witchfall’
Author: Victoria Lamb
Pages: 336
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: NOW at your local library/book store
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Her darkest dreams are coming true.

In Tudor England, 1555, Meg Lytton has learned how powerful her magick gift can be. But danger surrounds her and her mistress, the outcast Princess Elizabeth. Nowhere is safe in the court of Elizabeth's fanatical sister, Queen Mary. And as the Spanish Inquisition's merciless priests slowly tighten their grip on the court, Meg's very dreams are disturbed by the ever-vengeful witchfinder Marcus Dent.

Even as Meg tries to use her powers to find guidance, something evil arises, impervious to Meg's spells and hungry to control England's fate. As Meg desperately tries to keep her secret betrothed, the Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, out of harm's way, caution wars with their forbidden desire. And with her most powerful enemy poised to strike, Meg's only chance is a heartbreaking sacrifice.

My Thoughts:

Lamb does not disappoint in this sequel. I was even more invested in Meg than ever—and my heart pumped harder in this novel than in the first.

We are thrust back into Tudor England when Mary is still on the throne and Princess Elizabeth is still her prisoner. Throughout the novel, I waited for the death of Mary. And waited. And waited. Because I knew that the solving of all of Meg’s troubles would happen with the crowning of Elizabeth.

But, there couldn’t be a third book if Lamb gave it to Elizabeth in this novel. So, I still wait. But be on notice Lamb: I except Elizabeth to be crowned in book 3. I might cry if she is not.

After all, Queen Mary’s England is dangerous. And it gives me the heebes. And really, I love Queen Elizabeth. Give it to her already.

Okay, back to the sequel.

Meg is at court with Princess Elizabeth, but all eyes are on them. One misstep and all is lost. Meg has to mind her Ps and Qs and plays her role well, but is that enough?

When Princess Elizabeth takes ill, and accusations of witchcraft land in her rooms, the plot takes a scary shift. The last think Elizabeth needs is this to happen—and she needs to convince her sister to stop the silliness.

But now Queen Mary has taken to her chambers, awaiting the arrival of her little prince. An arrival that will not happen as Queen Mary is not pregnant but sick with cancer. Again Lamb, where is this woman’s death?!

So Elizabeth has another plan, get to the King. He can stop the accusations. But, does it work? After all, people will talk when they see him conversing with a woman that many in England feel should be put to her death. How will Queen Mary feel about her sister taking time out of her day to spend time with The King? And can the witch craze begin to step away from Princess Elizabeth’s household, and off the back of Meg. Or is there a traitor among them, waiting to oust Meg at the first chance?

And how does Marcus Dent play into all of this? After all, Meg “banished” him in the last book. Or did she?

One thing I really enjoyed was the growth of Meg’s character. She continues to build into her power, while trying to conceal who she really is, and the bond she shares with Princess Elizabeth seems unshakeable.

I also enjoyed how Lamb built the plot’s tension throughout; sometimes making my heart beat a little faster because I was so afraid for Meg. The pacing is spot on, giving readers a story and characters they can invest in. And I do feel invested in Meg. While Meg is the star of this series, there are other characters that enhance the story (besides Princess Elizabeth) that bring fear, love, jealousy, horror, and more to the page.

Twists, turns, surprises, and more wait on the pages of this delightful read. It is one of my favorite reads of this year. I love all things historical fiction that deals with Tudor England, especially when witches are a part of it. And this is fastly becoming a favorite series of mine.

Do I recommend this book?

I enthusiastically do! Especially of readers of historical fiction (with a touch of magic), this book series needs to find itself into your life.

Let’s talk about books—what’s the best historical fiction novel you’ve read lately?
Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator

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