Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Circle of Witches, by Margaret Frazer

As a child, Damaris knew nothing of her mother's people, or her mother's past.  She only knew that there was something her mother feared deeply.  When tragedy strikes, Damaris finds herself living with relatives she barely knows.  Slowly, she comes to feel connected to these people and this place.  So what will she do if she finds out her whole life has been a lie?  And will she ever find out what scared her mother so?

What a rich story this turned out to be, so many themes at work in the plot.  The search for identity and connection to others, the battle between good and evil as well as man versus nature, and the everlasting pursuit of happiness.  A lot to pack into one beautifully crafted story.  The author creates a rich pastoral setting for this book.  The time of the setting is a little ambiguous, but through context it appears to be the early 1800s, as there is mention of Guy Fawkes being 200 years in the past.  There is a gentle beauty in the descriptions of the time and place.

The characters are equally rich.  While we do not see a lot of descriptions of the characters, we come to know them through the unfolding of the story.  Damaris is an incredibly complex character.  I often hear authors talking about their characters writing themselves and their own story, and I really got the feeling that is what happened hear.  I think when the author began writing this, she had no idea where Damaris would end up; that is how I felt as the reader anyway.  I was surprised in the end of where life took Damaris.  The supporting cast of characters is equally rich, and end up in places I would never have anticipated.

As the title would suggest, there is a mystical quality to the storyline, concerning paganism and magic.  One should be aware of this going into the book; if you are adverse to those things, perhaps this is not the book for you.  I personally am not typically a fan of this theme in literature, but it is beautifully covered in this story, and is only one aspect of a larger story.  All in all, a lovely book.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.  The book is touring other blogs, and tour information is located here.



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