by Kathryn Meyer Griffith4 out of 5
There are witches in the world…some are good and some of them are downright evil.
Amanda Givens is careful how she uses her benevolent powers. She doesn't want the people of Canaan, Connecticut to know they have a witch among them…even a good white witch. For years, she's lived quietly in a remote cabin with Amadeus, her quirky feline familiar. At first with her husband, Jake, the love of her life, until a car accident; but now alone after his death. But when she's wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a satanic cult, she knows she can no longer hide. She's the one the cult is after and she is the only one who can stop them and prove her innocence. Yet as punishment for fighting and destroying the cult, she's drawn back in time by the ghost of the dark witch, Rachel Coxe, who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century. Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel's reputation in an effort to save lives, as well as her own, and falls in love all over again with Joshua, her reincarnated dead husband from the future, she has to rely on a sister's love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches named the Guardians, to help her get home safely.
Amanda is in mourning for her late husband; but cults, public hysteria, and long dead witches do not respect her grief. Amanda has to step up and realise what it means to be a powerful white witch.
Amanda comes from a long line of witches, and she has known what she is since she was a young girl. She learnt at a young age, to keep her powers hidden, in an attempt to fit in and not scare the normal people around her.
After a short introduction into the Black witch Rachel's death in the height of the witch-craze; the story really begins with Amanda struggling with the loss of her husband, Jake, who recently died in a car accident. Her grief is palpable, as she dares to go against all her training and use Black magic, and luckily she is brought back at the brink.
From her darkest moment, she finally starts to embrace life again, seeing the friends that she has neglected, and restarting her little pottery business.
But just as Amanda starts to appreciate the world around her, mysterious deaths at the hand of a dark cult upsets the balance.
I really like the setting for this story. It is a very stark and realistic view of the world; that despite our "progress", human nature doesn't change. Things they don't understand can still cause mass panic and hysteria; it's almost too easy to ignite a new witch craze.
Likewise, people are still a mix of good and bad. There are those that will help, and those that will take advantage.
The story follows Amanda's modern-day life; followed by Amanda living in Rachel's 17th Century life.
There were points in both where you get swept along in the simple day-to-day existence (I have to say my favourite part was following the 17th Century world).
There are sections that feel very slow-moving. Yes, Amanda is affected by the depression etc of losing her husband, and that does come across. But there are parts where it gets bogged down in description of every little sight, sound and action. It does help to add a normalness to a witchy story, but it slows down scenes that could be exciting, and reduces the effect of tension-building.
I also felt there were chunks of exposition thrown in unnecessarily. There was too much background for too many people. I understand that the author might want to share absolutely everything, but I just lost track. The information wasn't shared in the smoothest way, either, so it was clearly a background-filler-upper.
I think the central story was strong enough to stand on its own without all of that.
The characters all felt very samey. They had the same voice and had no traits to distinguish between them.
I felt that Rebecca (Amanda's sister) was a little bit of a lost character. She's built up to be jealous, entitled, fame-hungry... which would be awesome, but it just misses the mark. In the sections where she is the main narrator, I felt that she was too kind and too humble from the start. I felt that she missed out on a fantastic personal journey.
There were high-points and low, so overall I think it was a 3.5 out of 5 for me.