The Winter Witch

Written by Paula Brackston
Review by Jeanne Mackin

This is a fun, satisfying read about young Morgana, mute since her father’s disappearance, and newly wed to widower Cai Bevan.  What Cai doesn’t know about his pretty bride is that she is also a witch with magical powers. She’ll need them in this story, set in the rugged mountains of 19th-century Wales, since Cai’s farm contains a magic well, and there’s another witch in the village, a  much less benign one, who wants both Cai and the “cursing well” on his farm.

Perhaps the most satisfying part of this tale is the slow and tender unfolding of the love story between Cai and Morgana.  Having married for practical purposes, they must find a way to reveal the gradual love they come to experience for each other. The story contains several deaths as well as the suggestive malevolence of a small, closed society experiencing hard times.  Brackston has used this tale of witchery to show readers a world in which people deal with sorrow and loss by assigning otherworldly causes and effects… one of the great impulses for historical and magical fiction.  The writing is deft and the pacing quick, making it an enjoyable read.