The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
An enthralling tale of modern witch Bess Hawksmith, a fiercely independent woman desperate to escape her cursed history who must confront the evil which has haunted her for centuries.
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She could not have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.1
As promised, my Witch theme continues with The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston. Yet another book I was drawn to simply because of its cover. As I always say, you SHOULD judge a book by its cover. It hasn’t led to too many disappointments.
The book is written through diary entries, along with flashbacks. Elizabeth has just settled down in a new community, where she meets a young girl named Tegan. She isn’t sure why but she is drawn to the girl and enjoys her company, despite her nature to be overly cautious towards others. We learn of the story of Young Bess, and how she becomes a witch. We also learn how she reinvents herself throughout time, and get a glimpse into a couple of those histories. She is tired of running and people getting hurt in order to continue her safety, it is time to fight back against her creator, Gideon Masters. Gideon is a seductive, very powerful witch. He believes that Bess is his equal and they were meant to be together forever. He chases her through time to try to convince her of this.
Something I missed while I was reading this book was some of the historical facts. Names and situations I overlooked to be nothing of importance, but after some research they became something that much more solid and interesting.
There is a mention of a fox coming from the forest, a harmless creature. I have heard often of foxes recently in books, with the reference to the name Reynard.
p. 222 ” She turned slowly and came face to face with a fine dog fox. He flicked his tale (error should be tail), clearly provoked by the proximity of the mouse.
“Now then, Monsieur Reynard, behave yourself.”
It turns out that in Medieval times there were many stories involving a trickster fox named Reynard and how he would get his way out of trouble through talking and trickery.
Another reference I have recently seen is to the god Pan. Pan is a greek god known as the shepherd.
“O flame that burns glory bright
Be a beacon on this quiet night
Light the path for all the Dead
That they may see the way ahead
Lead them to the Summerland
And shine till Pan comes to take their hands
And with Your light, bring them peace
That they may rest and sleep with ease.”
I enjoyed hearing Bess’ story along with a couple of her other histories. Her present day interaction with Tegan is more dull than the past lives though. The trouble with a lot of stories is the ability to lead up to the climax well enough, but when it comes time for the climax and ending it falls a bit flat. In a way it seems to end rather abruptly with an assumed continuation. There is actually a new book coming soon called The Winter Witch, and I wonder if the story will connect to the story of Bess is any way, or if it will be a tale of its own. I look forward to finding out. It would be nice to have the connection to this book, but I think I may be slightly disappointed if Tegan is the main character of the Winter Witch.
Although I enjoyed the book, and it is a fairly easy, short read, I don’t really hold it high on the scale to recommend. This is one of those books if you have the opportunity to borrow it from someone it doesn’t hurt. I wouldn’t rush out and buy it though. Perhaps if the Winter Witch turns out to be a good book and does have a connection to the Witch’s Daughter, it may increase the need to read this. This one sits somewhere near the middle. It is neither bad, nor that amazing, but a simple decent read.
1. Book Summary from Paula Brackston