Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.
Sent to the ruined, isolated palace of Woodstock to serve the disgraced Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister of Queen Mary, Meg discovers her skills are of interest to the outcast princess, who is desperate to know if she will ever claim the throne. But Meg's existence becomes more dangerous every day, with the constant threat of exposure by the ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent, and the arrival of a young Spanish priest, Alejandro de Castillo, to whom Meg is irresistibly drawn - despite their very different attitudes to her secret.
Thrilling and fast-paced, this is the first unputdownable story in a bewitching new series.
Why I Read This:
Magic and history has always gone well together for me. I just couldn't resist reading this one.
At first I was a little concerned because my expectations for the story were a bit different than what it actually was. It turned out that I enjoyed this book anyways and what the author wrote made more sense than what was going on in my head before reading it through.
First of all, this was much more a romance than anything else and although it focused on Meg coming into her powers the fact that she served under Lady Elizabeth seemed a bit downplayed at times. There were only a few times that she interacts with Elizabeth. Although her proximity to Elizabeth is very important to the plot, I had expected something more. I did think the scenes where they were together were fabulous though.
What I think Victoria Lamb did a wonderful job on was conveying just how dangerous it would have been to be a witch in that time period. If of course, witches like Meg Lytton were real. Everything from the witch hunter Marcus Dent to heretic burnings and The Hammer of Witches really got to me. It would have been so hard to live in those times with anyone pointing fingers at a neighbor or friend they had a dislike for.
The romance between Meg and Alejandro was what really won me over. It was impossible at best - a witch and a priest in training falling in love - but the author had me routing for it to happen anyways. Because of what seemed like such an impossibilty, this is one of those books I had to read up to the very last page to see if it would work for, and it really did.
This was a very fast paced book. It was a quick read and something to me that was perfect for the summer. The writing was simple yet the story had just enough to keep my interest, learn some history, and fall in love with the romance. I'm looking forward to seeing what other adventures Meg and Alejandro end up on next.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.