The Midnight Witch

Written by Paula Brackston
Review by Ann Chamberlin

In this paranormal-historical, Lady Lilith Montgomery is the only daughter of a duke in a setting that stretches from the opulence of Edwardian England to the austere days after World War I. Her father has died in the first pages (for reasons that might have been more sinister but are never made so), leaving her younger, opium-addicted brother, Freddie, heir to the dukedom and Lilith herself Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven of necromancers. A poor and non-witch artist falls in love with her in her mourning black in the cemetery, she eventually with him. And in a thread diffused to the point of passive non-threat, a band of “sorcerers” struggle to take a dead-raising Elixir from the Coven.

Brackston is a New York Times bestselling author for earlier titles including witches from different time periods, but this book doesn’t seem as successful. Edwardian mores are presented with little attempt to add emotionally or tension-wise to the plot, as if cut-and-pasted in from online searches. Fitting the paranormal elements into the history seemed even less apt. World War I seems but a footnote to the story, even though risen dead prophesied the slaughter of many close to the Coven. Although warned, the Coven does nothing similar to the witchcraft attempts to save Britain during the Second World War, and the Elixir seems slapped on as an afterthought.