A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.
On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.
In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each others, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more.
Worldbuilding: The world of The Silver Witch was charming, both the contemporary Wales setting, with the lake and the place’s history, and the paranormal elements of witchcraft and ghostly apparitions.
Characters: Tilda was easy to love, considering her loss and her struggles to adjust to both that loss and her new life. She was a well-rounded character, authentic, real – I liked her. I liked how she managed to listen to her instincts and how resilient she was. Plus she’s an artist, how could I not like her to bits? But I didn’t proper love her, for some reason. I didn’t get that passionate about any of the characters as to actually love them. Though I did like them quite a lot.
Seren was also interesting. She had a lot on her plate, as a shaman, a seer, a mother, a lover… she was a true heroine, fighting to protect her child til the very end. I respected her a lot, even if her behavior in relation to her prince might raise some eyebrows. It didn’t raise mine 🙂
Other characters were interesting, but I can’t say I fell for either of them (Dylan, the prince), maybe except for Thristle. I did love her to bits, okay 😀
Plot: The romance stories were fun, but I can’t say I felt much chemistry happening between the characters. The stories themselves could have been very charming and touching, should either of them have been more focused upon. As it was, there was a lot going on on two fronts, plus the entwining moment – no time to linger much.
The past and present romance arcs entwine in a smart and elegant way, bringing us to the more alert action part of the story – but there’s not much of it. The pace of the read is quite slow, the story took a while to kick in and grip me, and while I was fully interested for the entire time, I can’t say I was on the edge of my seat at any point. Maybe with the exception of the confrontation at the end there, okay – that was really exciting 😀
Writing: Third and first person present tense narrative, from Tilda and Seren’s POV. As usual, the present tense pulled me out of the story. The descriptive, literary-flavored writing was surely pleasant, but sadly it prevented me from feeling the kind of rush I would have liked from this novel. The potential was there for sure, but it’s obvious from the writing the author’s vision was one of greater character depth than agitated action – and I’m totally with that, as you guys probably know.
Curb Appeal: Beyond gorgeous cover, and hooking blurb – fab presentation.
All in all, this was a smart, elegant novel, intriguing and pleasant but not overly exciting for a regular PNR/UF reader like myself. I fully recommend The Silver Witch to lovers of classic-like reading with a right-now twist, of literary-flavored fiction with depth of character delivered with a good side of smart and interesting plotting, but not much of a rush.