I’m not much of a historical fiction reader, but when I heard about Witchstruck something told me I should give it a go. There isn’t much historical YA and as it’s so popular in adult form, I was interested to see what it would be like as a YA novel. It turns out that I was right to listen to that vibe about trying it too as it was a brilliant read.
Meg Lytton is a witch and attendant to Elizabeth, half-sister of Queen Mary, who lives in Woodstock under house arrest. Elizabeth is interested in Meg’s abilities and whether the future will hold her ever leaving Woodstock, but it is a bad time to be a witch. The punishment is death, after all. Marcus Dent, a witch finder who wanted to marry Meg, but was scorned, has a closer eye on Meg than ever before. Then there’s the young, Spanish priest bought to Woodstock to teach and aid Elizabeth in becoming a Catholic and sparks fly between Alejandro and Meg.
Witch trials and the persecution of women suspected of being a witch are a topic I find very interesting so I found this book extremely compelling. Meg was a strong character, particularly as she is written in a time when strong females were something people were afraid of. I loved all of the historical details about Woodstock and Elizabeth’s imprisonment and how Lamb built on this factual background to make her novel feel even more real. As it is both a historical and paranormal novel, the ability for the reader to be able to place themselves into the world and suspend their disbelief is incredibly important and Lamb skilfully achieves this. That said, writing a character like Elizabeth who is so iconic was a risk and because of this, and the fact Elizabeth is a fairly central character, this book may not be everyone.
The romantic developments between Alejandro and Meg were well-written and the social restraints for the time appropriate, but on a personal level, and this may just be me, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the priest being a romantic interest. However, this is only my personal opinion here and shouldn’t put you off.
The most standout character is the villain, Marcus Dent, who was genuinely awful in the book and I abhorred. Being able to evoke a strong reaction from the reader is a true testament to Lamb’s abilities.
Witchstruck was exciting and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series and even giving historical YA and fiction more of a chance than I previously did. Thanks, Victoria Lamb, for opening my eyes to a totally different type of YA. I received a free uncorrected proof of this book for my honest review and would like to thank Emily at Random House for sending it out to me!