Author: Paula Brackston
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: January 2013
Genre: Young Adult Historical/Fantasy
Book Summary (from Goodreads)
In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can’t quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Bevan, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.
I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The premise sounded intriguing, it was historical with some magic, set in Wales, had witches and romance and seemed like a great novel. And it wasn’t bad. Not really. It was just very. very. s l o w.
It starts off well enough. We’re introduced to the slightly mysterious Morgana the day she is to be wed to a man she’s barely met. She doesn’t speak, and there is a hint that there may be something magical about her. Despite her silence, she has very strong opinions about many things. The character is one that starts out likable, and one I wanted to get to know better. The problem was that I don’t feel like I ever did.
Cai, the man who marries her, is another character that we want to like. He actually seems a little easier to “get to know” than Morgana. I don’t know if that’s because he talks, or because of the way his narration is done, or if its just me. That being said, he never develops as much as I’d like either.
Their relationship is set up to have problems. Its an arranged marriage, he does it because he has to in order to keep his position in town, she does it because her mother talks her into it. They both dance around each other for what seems like hundreds of pages. She can’t talk. He doesn’t understand. She acts like a stubborn child, then feels bad, he forgives her though he’s not sure why she did it.
I actually skimmed and skipped most of the middle of the book. The themes of misunderstanding and guilt and more misunderstanding, mixed in with some comments about how much they are beginning to like the other, are overdone for me. What I’m sure was meant to be a slow build up of a relationship just fell flat. The ending wasn’t bad, but some of the twists are easy to see, and the very ending seems totally unlikely. Enough that I had a hard time feeling horror or threatened at all. The villain and the reasons behind it are very loosely done. For a long time you aren’t really sure if her motives are what you think, and they are easy to figure out. I had a hard time buying into them, personally, so it made it difficult to feel anything for the villain.
Their romance is sweet, and the end is definitely a Happily Ever After, but I must admit to being disappointed by this book. If you enjoy slow romance, with a little magic mixed in, this is a good one. Otherwise, you might want to steer clear.
Where to Find the Book
Book was purchased by reviewer.