The Witch’s Daughter
I was eager to pick this book up as soon as I saw the cover and the title. I love stories about witches, in particular stories about women who are attuned to the world around them, who are connected to nature and who are healers. My fascination with these stories stems from the very real history of women being hunted and persecuted for having open minds, a love for nature and for simply being women. And still women today fight for rights to be seen as human beings. The story of a witch isn’t just about magic, it’s about women’s rights.
We entered into patriarchy after we lived in a time of matriarchy; where women were honoured, worshipped even. To be feminine was to be sacred and beloved. Enter in Christianity and poor Eve gets blamed for everything. Since then it seems women have either been in constant battle or constant silence in order to endure. No time fills me with more sadness than that of the witch hunts. Nothing causes me to shudder more than thinking about the thousands of women that were wrongly murdered in those dark, dark ages simply because they had a mind that was their own and a spirit that knew no bounds.
The Witch’s Daughter, written by Paula Brackston is not perfect and the imperfection shows itself closer to the end of the book so it didn’t make an impact on my enjoyment of this story. In addition, I love the variety of styles in which the author chose to tell the story; a first person journal type view and then the third person narrative when Elizabeth is recollecting.
Elizabeth, as the main character, is another great female character that I am happy to make the acquaintance of. She is a witch who is hunted by a darkness that has followed her for hundreds of years in the form of Gideon Masters. Gideon himself is part of the imperfection of the story. As a villain he seems too one-dimensional, too typical. As the book moves forward Gideon is often repeating himself in his dialogue when it comes to his confrontations with Elizabeth and it is through this that he loses his hold over me as a threat. In fact, he gets down right annoying, like mosquito annoying. He eventually becomes such a caricature that in the end you wish that Elizabeth had a much more formidable foe. Elizabeth is a much more rounded character, deserving of a better nemesis than Gideon. The other character Tegan, is an excellent partner for Elizabeth. Together these two present two different types of personalities and ages and I found the relationship between older woman and younger woman quite refreshing. I love the traditions that women pass down to each new generation and the relationship between Elizabeth and Tegan is a strong symbol of that.
The times where the book takes a third person narrative are some of the best parts of the book as we see the many lives, and traumas, that Elizabeth has lived throughout time, all in escaping Gideon. Where the story begins to weaken is in the description of the big battle between Elizabeth and Gideon. Some descriptions of the magic felt cheesy and other times I wanted more of a showdown. There is maybe only a couple of times where the magic gets a little unbelievable for me. I consider myself quite open-minded and I believe in unlimited possibilities (the quantum physics lover in me), but not being able to explain the magic is what can make some witch stories hard to enjoy.
Over all, this is a great story, one that I was happy to read and more than willing to plough right through. I will recommend this book to others, especially my female friends and my desire to learn even more about plants and their healing abilities just increased with every uncture that Elizabeth made.
Posted on October 7, 2012, in Book Reviews and tagged books, feminine, magic, paula brackston, practical magic, sacred, the thirteen, the witch of cologne, the witch's daughter, witch, women. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.