Set in a version of medieval England, a fierce war is going on between the witch hunters and the witches and wizards. In the kingdom of Anglia, all magic and magic users are forbidden. Elizabeth Grey is one of the best young witch hunters, save only for her best friend (and secret crush) Caleb. When Elizabeth’s secret, that she’s been taking witch’s herbs, is discovered and she is accused of being a witch, Elizabeth is sent to jail and awaits her burning at the stake. Though confident Caleb will save her, he doesn’t as weeks pass by. Instead, her rescuer is Nicholas Perevil, the most famous and notorious wizard in the kingdom. There’s only one catch as Nicholas is under a curse, quickly approaching his death, and needs her help. Coming into Nicholas’s home means re-examining all of her beliefs about wizards and witches, ghosts and other magical beings. Plus, her new friends don’t know her past, and it is bound to get ugly when they find out. Despite this, Elizabeth shows repentance and a desire to help. Through her, Nicholas and his allies discover their kingdom and people hang in the balance of a despot, one they can only defeat if both sides learn to work together.
Virginia Boecker writes a tribute to her historical heroines Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth I in this fantastical and exciting tale (she’s aptly named for loving the “Virgin Queen”!). A fun read and a good one for 2015! I love historical fiction, and especially historical fiction in the medieval era. Elizabeth is an intriguing heroine. We start off believing she is a witch hunter and doing what she should be, but in fact, she’s been put on this path, excelled, and come to find her whole life was manipulated. Let me point this out too–Elizabeth was taking the witch’s herbs because the king, whom she cannot refuse, takes her to bed, and Elizabeth doesn’t want to bear his children, which the witch’s herbs prevent. Amazingly, this detail is mostly brushed aside in the story arc, but the reader should not forget that Elizabeth is bearing the brunt of this shame and punishment for something she has no choice over. Finally out from under the strict society of the witch hunters, she’s finally getting to think for herself. It’s liberation in every sense of the word, and one that both surprises and endears a reader to her plight and future.
Did I mention my favorite era in history is the Wars of the Roses? No? Then you might know why I can’t wait for the second book–find out here!
Does this have Morris potential? My guess is that it probably won’t make the top 5 but I would love to see it there!
(Also, her website is lovely. You should check it out. And while I could have met her at a library conference this year, alas, I was behind. Much like I am for the last two weeks blogging. Sometimes life gets you, and since I’ve been at a new job recently, I’m finding the adjustment a little disorienting.)