From Publishers Weekly
Coelho's brilliant tale of young Brida, an Irish girl who wishes to become a witch, is a compelling and vivid fantasy epic. Sadly, narrator Linda Emond's uninspired and monotonous reading is a disservice to this fantastic tale. Though the story is set in Ireland during the mid-'80s, Emond makes no attempt at a regional dialect or even the slightest shift in tone for any of the characters. Her narrative voice is dull and uninspired, read with a soft whisper that will surely put most listeners to sleep before it ignites their imaginations. The story would be much better served with a narrator more willing to put their performance skills to the test and dive into the story. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 28). (July)
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Coelho’s loyal fan base will welcome the U.S. publication of Brida, another mystical pilgrimage from the master of the genre. Readers familiar with The Alchemist (1993), The Zahir (2005), and The Witch of Portobello (2007) will recognize the common themes—mysticism, discipleship, and a quest for fulfillment—that are incandescently woven into the fabric of most of his fiction. Brida O’Fern, a young Irishwoman, embarks on a voyage of self-discovery, ultimately resulting in a spiritual awakening and an acceptance of her own supernatural powers. While seeking initiation into the Tradition of the Moon, an ancient Wiccan ritual, she also discovers her soul mate and learns that love is the most divinely liberating emotion to be recognized and valued on the path to true wisdom and knowledge. Slighter than some of Coelho’s philosophically meatier novels, Brida is still a journey well worth taking; librarians should expect high demand. --Margaret Flanagan