December 31, 2013

Review of 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 couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon—who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul—in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?

add to goodreadsThe Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
Publication Date:  January 21, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Available for Purchase:

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Gabby NewI was curious to get reading The Witch’s Daughter by author Paula Brackston. It sounded interesting and unlike anything I had ever read before and so I was very eager to dive right into the story. It was not what I expected and I mean that in the best of ways. It exceeded my expectations and was an all-around well written, good read.

In The Witch’s Daughter main character Elizabeth “Bess” Hawksmith has lived through some of the most horrible parts of history and now finds herself living in modern England. When a young girl named Tegan falls into her company, Elizabeth begins to teach the young girl the ways of the Hedge Witch.  With this, comes Tegan asking to know more about Elizabeth and about witches. And so, Elizabeth tells Tegan about the lives that she lived. First as Bess, the witch’s daughter who forced herself into the wicked warlock Gideon Masters’ company and was made a witch herself.

As time goes on however, and Gideon’s obsession with her grows stronger, Bess begins to play a game of cat and mouse with Gideon. Constantly running away from him, hoping that he won’t find her. Though it seems that in each new life that Bess starts, Gideon makes a reoccurrence in the form of another body. Growing worried for Tegan, Bess knows that Gideon is coming for her and the next time they meet will end with somebody dead.

What I found really interesting and unique about The Witch’s Daughter was how the story is written. It begins with a modern Elizabeth/Bess who has already experienced the events that are told later on in the novel. After she meets Tegan, Bess reveals the stories that are written in her Book of Shadows and that’s when things get really exciting. We learn about Bess’s life as she became a witch and Gideon Masters’ obsession with her began, we get to see her in the 1800s and see all of the aliases she used and lives she had for herself.

Parts of The Witch’s Daughter were dark but the way it was written makes certain scenes more numbed. I know that that sounds a bit confusing but the way that Brackston writes certain scenes that involve murder or death were always written so that they were dark and the point got across but they weren’t scenes that left me cringing. They were written artfully which I really enjoyed.

There is a lot that I do think readers should be aware of before they get reading. In The Witch’s Daughter there is a lot of sex and there is a rape scene. I do think that if that could trigger anything for a reader or be something they didn’t expect from the novel should be wary of.

The characters in The Witch’s Daughter are very realistic, they’re good, wholesome, original character that I would like to read about over and over again. Bess’s character develops so much throughout the novel. It’s so seldom that we get characters who develop throughout one standalone novel instead of requiring to develop over a series of books. Readers who want unique, great characters will find that in The Witch’s Daughter.

I would recommend The Witch’s Daughter to readers who are looking for a well-written novel with brilliant characters. Readers who are big fans of historical fiction but want a novel with a magical twist are going to like what The Witch’s Daughter has to offer them. I would also recommend The Witch’s Daughter to readers who are eager for a paranormal novel with a realistic side.




Paula Brackston is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter, The Winter Witch,and The Midnight Witch(2014). 

Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book ‘Nutters’ (writing as PJ Davy) was short listed for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.

Paula lives in Wales with her partner and their two children.


Connect with the Author:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads


1 Comment

  1. Bregje

    This sounds like a book I would very much enjoy. I love historical fiction as well as fantasy and I really want to read more stand-alone novels. I’m also quite impressed with the cover, because a lot of covers of books from this genre are just not great. This one is very pretty and actually makes me want to read it more.

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