Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb
|Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Harmless fun and an enjoyable read in this light romantic story about young love, witchcraft and Elizabeth I. Serious readers should probably look further afield, however.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: July 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Meg Lytton comes from a family of witches. Her mother, who died in childbirth, renounced her gift in order to marry. But Meg's Aunt Jane continued to practise and has taught Meg to hone her skills. Sent to serve the Princess Elizabeth - in confinement at Woodstock, suspected of treason against her sister - Meg soon finds that her royal mistress has a strong interest in the occult and encourages her to continue. Elizabeth is beset by danger and must tread a delicate path through intrigues and religion. Meg, too, walks in peril. The ruthless witchfinder Marcus Dent has taken an uncomfortably close interest in her and if he were to discover her secret, he would send her straight to her death.
Can Elizabeth convince her sister the Queen of her innocence? Will Meg avoid being denounced? And is the young Spanish priest Alejandro a danger or a saviour?
Witchstruck provides harmless fun and a light read - fans of historical romance will enjoy it no end. There's a feisty heroine, a smouldering hero, plenty of romantic misunderstandings and even some bodice-ripping. And it's all mixed together with plenty of courtly intrigue and a good dollop of hexing. Meg's impulsiveness gets her in all sorts of difficulties and Alejandro dashes to her rescue with great gusto. And in the background, Lamb paints a credible portrait of the young Elizabeth, who picked her way through such turmoil before she eventually succeeded to the throne of England.
Having said all the nice things, I should also say that serious readers would probably do better to stay away. The plot is exceedingly flimsy and Meg's misadventures sometimes verge on the plain silly. She spends endless hours worrying about being hanged as a witch but tells just about everyone she meets that she is one! Alejandro, a Catholic soldier priest in the making, is tortured by once having reported a witch who was executed. He's a great romantic hero but he really lacks all credibility as an historical character. It's tricky to write interesting historical stories with characters that have contemporary mindsets, but Witchstruck doesn't even try.
A specific recommendation from me, then - Witchstruck is a book for fans of romantic fiction with historical and supernatural flavours. Those who like a little more meat in their reading should probably look further afield.
Black Arts by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil combines Elizabethan England with sorcery and organised crime. Burning Issy by Melvin Burgess is about the Pendle witch hunts in the 17th century, told from the perspective of a young foundling who becomes associated with it.
You can read more book reviews or buy Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
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