Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Witches of BlackBrook – Book Review

The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer
(Witches of BlackBrook #1)
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: 23 June 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance

The Witches of BlackBrook by Tish Thawer is the first instalment in the Witches of BlackBrook series; however, it is does not have an open-ending. 
Quick-paced and easy to navigate, the story is about three witches: Karina, Kara and Kenna, who lived in the late 1600's, when magic was practiced freely. Mischief befalls the three, when a woman tricks the elder sister, claiming her baby is ill. After that, Karina is accused of killing the baby and being the devil's daughter. She is sentenced to burn at the stake, where she performs a spell to protect her and her sisters.

Karina's spell takes the sisters, and the rest of the witches, across time, to be reborn in different bodies every time.
The Witches of BlackBrook opens with a short but powerful prologue. We see a witch's sacrifice from the first page, which immediately gives an idea about the character, even though we are not sure who that character is from the beginning but later learn that it is Karina.

The novel shifts between the present, where Karina is Trin, and their episodes and events from their past life before and during Karina's trial. Trin is a massage therapist and lives with her roommate/sister Kit, believed to be Kenna. Throughout their previous lives, they have been in constant search of their third sister Kara, but to no avail.

The narration is in the third person throughout the novel, but we get the sense of things coming from certain perspectives. There are also short sections of an unknown character constantly trying to separate the three sisters and prevent their union. This character adds suspense and gives a strong eerie and creepy atmosphere.

In the present, Trin meets Caris, a teacher, who recently moved back to BlackBrook with her cousin. During her first massage session with Caris, Trin sees memories of her and her sisters and immediately believes that Caris might be the third lost sister. However, Kit believes otherwise and we get a strong sense of jealousy.

I enjoyed the use of spells, and the seamless shift between present and past. 

Trin may be the eldest sister, but she's not the wisest. And I really liked that. "Trin was always thrown off when another witch was around. She desperately wanted everyone they'd stumbled upon to be Kara, that she'd lost perspective over the years."

There is also the character of Jason, Caris' cousin, who is instantly attracted to Trin and reminds her of her long lost love, Jeramiah.

The overall setting and descriptions throughout the novel are vivid, but there were several images and lines that stood out for me:
"She should be excited and proud of Kit, and she was, but the urgency of finding out what magical barrier was being cast upon her entire destiny seemed like a trump card in her book."

There was also the use of tarot readings. "Trin acknowledged the Magician card as her past, no surprises there. But the present and future cards had her undivided attention.
The Seven of Swords indicated deceit and deception surrounding her present, while the reversed Tower forewarned her of major changes, where she could no longer count on those close to her."

Although in several instances the novel reminded me of the book and television series Charmed, Tish Thawer put in several twists, giving The Witches of BlackBrook its own character.


Overall: A quick-paced magical five-star must read.


Note: I received a free copy of The Witches of BlackBrook via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.