Review The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

The Silver Witch is a lovely story. Set in Brecon Beacons it features two women a millennium apart with a story that is told between them. I really liked this premise, Tilda is the modern lead a young woman with albinism, widowed dealing with the stress and trauma of losing her husband in a road traffic accident. Her historical counterpart is Seren, witch and seer for the Prince Brynach and his followers on the crannog.

This novel really is about Tilda’s recovery, at the beginning she is raw from her loss and embarking upon this new life, the one that she should have been starting with Mat. She is incredibly fragile, she seems unable to look after herself and when strange things start happening to her it does feel like this woman may be about to breakdown.

Seren on the other hand is an amazing character of depth and strength who never falters in her actions she can see what other people are doing and she does her best to steer the Prince to understand and to avoid disasters.

image002As the novel unfolds it becomes clear that Tilda and Seren are linked, the true nature of the link is explored with a couple of red herrings along the way. I have to say I thought I had sussed everything out and was pleasantly surprised when things got twisted towards the end. This is a book about women and the power they possess. Tilda’s journey from rock bottom to capable is a joy, I loved the way she wanted to work things out for herself, that yes there is a love interest in Dylan but that Tilda regularly takes herself off alone to work things out because that is the best way for her.

Where Seren and Tilda felt quite real to me, the male characters at times didn’t feel as detailed, they were there but not quite in focus. Some of the historical characters felt like thumb nail sketches and I would have liked more details about Wenna and Nesta. This may be down to the choice of writing Tilda in third person present tense and Seren in first person present as a reader we live within Seren and can’t understand characters she interacts with with the same detachment that we can in Tilda’s segments.

Overall I thought the novel hung together well, the pacing felt quite staid for the first half and there times I was a bit frustrated with Tilda constantly going out for runs. That said it’s a great book, It kept me reading and I really wanted to know how everything was going to end. It’s a perfect read for a winter afternoon with a large mug of tea and a few biscuits.

The Winter Witch is published by Corsair.