The Witch Within
Set in medieval Bohemia, a young peasant girl is accused of witchcraft when she attempts to save her brother. Talitha is not the first in her matriarchal line to be suspected of it and the fear of being accused is ever present in her family.
Of interest is her grandmother who keeps true to the Old Ways, and does not seek to suppress her nature, juxtaposed with her mother, who so effectively subsumes all in order to appease her husband and society. There is a strong element of fear in her mother’s relationship with her father, not entirely unfounded as he fails to protect either Talitha’s grandmother or Talitha herself.
Talitha is given no choice: she must flee into the forest seeking out others like herself if she is to evade torture and death.
What follows is a mesmerizing tale of awakening, courage, acceptance of who one is and using what gifts have been granted to you, if you so choose.
It is beautifully written and evocative. One wishes one could read it on a balmy spring day under a canopy of trees in a forest listening to the sound of a brook. It would be easy to believe oneself under a spell of enchantment in such a setting and might even induce one to go in search of the flora and fauna mentioned.
The author has brought to life the humble witchcraft lore of Bohemia—that is, the practices of the village women instead of the grand Lords and Ladies that are usually written about. As someone who is an ardent supporter of reinstating the lost feminine principle, learning the lives of ‘ordinary’ women is fascinating.
Is a remarkable debut novel and I have no doubt the sequel will be just as good, if not phenomenal. It is one of the rare books I have read and thought, “That will make a good movie”