Meg Lytton has always known she is different;that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg’s hand in marriage, and Meg’s own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn’t a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice
The main reason that I took up Witchstruck to read was the witch angle as I am not really a history buff. I mean, I do read the occasional historical fiction and love novels based on historical events, but I don’t really know the history except through fiction. So, while I did not know about the actual historical events that form the background of this novel, I really enjoyed it. (I did, however, try to get a general idea of the ruling monarchy, etc.) Since the book is set in a time where witchcraft was abhorred and witches were hanged for their ‘sins’, the main character Meg (now that I think about it, what was her full name?) is in serious danger since she is a practicing witch who feels that she cannot let her gift remain dormant just because other people think it to be the devil’s work. She is handmaiden to Elizabeth I while she was imprisoned at Woodstock and also her consultant on witchy matters like divination. Enter Alejandro de Castillo, a Spanish priest-in-training who has accompanied Father Vasco to secure the immortal soul of the Princess and while I did not adore him because of all his blow-hot-and-cold nature, I did like him okay.
The plot-lines are divided into the battle between religions, battle between her faith and Alejandro’s, the town’s persecution of the witches and Elizabeth trying to avoid getting entrapped in the rebel’s schemes – all blended well into the main storyline. As a character, Elizabeth seemed a bratty teen to me, even if she was 20 so while her story forms the base for the plot-line, I didn’t really see how Meg and she connect. Alejandro, as I said before, is complex and though he doesn’t revile Meg for being a witch but wants her to not be herself too. Their love development totally came out of nowhere, even with all the looks and silences – in the beginning, I didn’t even understand his motivation to help her. Also, I don’t get how nearly everyone has so much information about witches but when Meg comes out, they are like – s**t, really?
So, while the plot seemed a bit shaky at times, the storytelling was good and captivating. It captured the essence of the time period, which was quite important. The paranormal aspect was, also , well-handled. A good start to the series, I say.
Received a copy from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.