28 April, 2012

Review: A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 346
Format: Paperback
Published January 5, 2012 by Hodder Children's Books
Goodreads // Amazon UK

Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.

Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.

I picked up A Witch in Winter not expecting much from it and merely hoping for a mildly entertaining read on the bus. What I got once I started reading it was something else! This book was simply great. A seriously fast paced plot with a magical air about it. Another expectation blown!

Winter is a very eerie and damp sort of village that Ruth Warburton does a fantastic job of describing. The main character, Anna, is the clash having come to Winter straight from London when her dad moves her out there. If I hadn't been living in the UK for 18 months now, I think I'd have a bit of trouble understanding a lot of the British terms, especially in Anna's school setting. From an American perspective where the UK is something of a novelty, this book won't disappoint! You just might need to look up what an aga is.

The world building is formed around the town and a traditional witch-world of covens and spells. It's the right amount of keeping up with paranormal traditions while adding in some originality. I adored the house Anna's dad bought. It's creepy and old with a lot of mystery about it. Overall, Ruth Warburton blended in her world building seamlessly into the plot without making the whole book about it. Sometimes it's hard to find a book that does that.

The way Ruth Warburton wrote the characters was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book. From the start when Anna cast a spell on Seth, you could watch the transformation of their relationship from beginning to end. From farcical love spell to a sincerely sweet romance. Seth was one of the sweetest and self-sacrificing love interests I've had the pleasure to read and Anna really grew on me.

I didn't find the book perfect. There were some flaws I found in the antagonists (mainly I just didn't find them all that threatening and a little hokey), but it was an extremely enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up the second book, A Witch in Love when it comes out this summer. Tehre are still plenty of questions to be answered, chiefly what kind of powers Anna has and if her mother had anything to do with the witch world. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the traditional grimoire-coven witch world.


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