Like a lot of authors I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I hate that brand new books are sold for a pittance as 'used'; I hate the power they hold over publishers and therefore over authors; I hate the monopoly of it all. BUT, I love it when Amazon recommends a book that is just the kind of novel I want to read - a book I might not have found otherwise. Such was the case with Victoria Lamb's novel Witchstruck, the story of a magical young women, living in the dangerous era of Tudor England.
When Meg Lytton is sent to serve the imprisoned Lady Elizabeth at Woodstock Palace, she takes her gift of magic with her. She is glad to go, if only to get away from a man who has decided he wants her to be his wife. With the protection of the princess Meg feels safe to use her magical skills, especially when Elizabeth expresses an interest in divination and introduces Meg to none other than John Dee. But magic comes at a price in such dangerous times and it isn't long before Meg's witchery is discovered, putting both her and the princess in mortal danger.
To make matters worse young Meg is drawn to Alejandro, a trainee priest of a Spanish Order. As Queen Mary is earning her reputation for being Bloody, many in England are in fear that her marriage to a Spanish prince will bring with it the might of the Spanish Inquisition. Some would rise up in rebellion to see Elizabeth on the throne instead and plots are underway to try and do just that, much to Elizabeth's dismay who would be executed if she were to be found involved in such plots. Can Meg save her mistress; can she trust Spanish priest Alejandro; will he help her, or see her hanged as a witch? Or worse, burned at the stake for heresy?
Witchstruck is a novel of danger, intrigue and magic. The author has clearly done her research as this novel has one of the most accurate descriptions of the power of witchcraft that I have ever read and that I can totally relate to;
"When the power falls on me, it buzzes in the warm, dark spaces of my skull. It stings like nettles at the tips of my fingers."
If you have enjoyed the Tudor novels of Philippa Gregory or Emily Purdy, Witchstruck is a must-read. I have been completely engrossed in it and couldn't put it down. Although this novel is marketed at teens and YA, it certainly doesn't read like a kids book and the only hint that the author was writing for a younger audience is the lack of sex, though there is plenty of romance so don't allow the YA/Teen tag to put you off. This is a fantastic read for all ages. I highly recommend it.