Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Winter Witch: SNOOZER ALERT!



The Winter Witch
Paula Brackston
Release Date January 29, 2013
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In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can't quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Bevan, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. 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 love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything. 
Review: This one was a real snoozer. I'm a fairly tolerant reader, especially when it comes to historical fiction, but at the half-way mark I was bored with a capital "B". The premise sounds promising, but the mystery and magic is buried in thick scenes of cattle herding, horse-shoeing, animals dying and pastoral walks and rides. If you're a horse lover, perhaps this will interest you, but I found the logistics too tedious, killing any action that occurred. I dreaded these scenes and reluctantly began thumbing through the pages hoping that the story would pick up. I'm not certain why some of the lengthy details were important other than to quench the interest and knowledge of the author. In writing, there is always a fine line between completing the character by developing their legitimate expertise and life-style, and detailing diarrhea. I do respect the thoroughness of the characterization; however, it just didn't appeal to my area of interest. I was hoping for more strangeness, mystery, magic and witchy goodness. Instead, I got rugged mountain scenes, how to drive a herd and horse shoeing. 

Since the lead female is mute, the entire POV is told from inside her head, thus, cutting out any dialogue. This could be creatively interesting if relieved with well-placed humor, but she is rather serious all the time, which lends to a rather depressing and intense read with little or no break in monotonous tension. She lacks dimension and because of this, ruined the appeal for me. The approach was deficient and the thoughts of the character stumbled towards purple prose rather than true thoughts and perspective. When choosing to be inside a character's head for that length of time it is important to fully explore what goes on there. To be honest, people simply do not think as this character does at all times.  The grit was withheld and by doing so, resulted in a boring female character that was too Disney for my liking. At times, I was waiting for the blue bird to land on her shoulder and for the entire cast to break out into song as she danced around the horse pasture.
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*ARC provided by Amazon Vine courtesy of St. Martin's Press

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