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VINE VOICEon March 16, 2011
The "Witch's Daughter" begins in the 1600's in England where the plague has devastated families. Bess the witch's daughter in the story loses her entire family to the plague but she and her mother live through the sickness. Because Bess is saved from death, due to her mother's witchcraft, the town of Batchcombe hangs Bess' mother.

In present day England, Bess, now called Elizabeth, is now immortal and is settled in a small village in England living alone. Elizabeth meets a young girl, Tegan, who she decides to school in the arts of witchcraft and magic. Together, Elizabeth and Tegan will fight the evil that invades their small English village.

This book moves from the 1600's, to the late 1800's and then to World I. In each of these periods, Elizabeth disguises herself since she is always on the run from an evil warlock who is determined to bring her to the dark side. After each of the different periods of history, Bess returns to present day England and recounts her history to Tegan.

I liked the story but I felt it was a bit predictable after the World War I period. In each period of history, Bess is on the run from evil and she must fight the evil warlock and then hide from him. The final chapter is again a match up between Bess (now Elizabeth)in the present day, where she fights the warlock and uses her magical powers.

A quick read and enjoyable. A bit predictable but fun.
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on February 2, 2011
The Witch's Daughter is an entertaining and moving story. A book worth reading! I was entranced from the beginning until the end. Paula Brackston did a wonderful job giving her main character a unique and believable voice. She did what a lot of authors sometimes fail to do; she made Bess believable. The reader will find themselves sucked into another world and time. The story spans several decades and uses several historical events as back drops for Bess's story. I won't go into detail about the plot of the story; you can read that above. However, I will say that this is a great, entertaining quick read. This is for the person who likes to be transported away sometimes of a fantastical and wholly unique world. One were witches can be good, some bad and the struggle between the two.
Also, I've seen some people complain that the kindle price is too expensive. I usually go for the free or 1.00 priced book. So, yes this is one of the most expensive book I've bought on Amazon (the most expensive was the horrible "House Rules"). Take it from a cheapie; splurge a little. Its still cheaper then going to barns and noble and its worth the money!
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on March 20, 2011
Although I typically love historical fiction novels that tie into present times, I found this book to be very slow-going. It was fairly predictable and most times you knew what was coming pages before the author got you there. The characters are fairly one dimensional. I felt as though this story had a lot of unreached potential. It should have been better than it was.
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on August 5, 2011
I had high hopes for this novel. I enjoy historical fiction and fantasy and the premise of this book intrigued me. I use a Kindle, so I was able to read the first few chapters. All seemed well, so I bought it. Big mistake. This book is just silly. The author uses tired old ideas as plot devices as her immortal protagonist Elizabeth travels through the ages: a typical witch hunt in 17th century Europe, Jack the Ripper in the 19th century. Elizabeth's mortal nemesis is a "warlock" named Gideon who worships the devil. He trains her in the "dark arts" but then she flees from him and his pursuit of her through the centuries forms the narrative. She somehow turns into a Wiccan and worships the Goddess. We never learn how that happened. The story jumps between first and third person narrative. Some chapters are from Elizabeth's diary; others are her story as she tells it in the third person to her young apprentice Tegan. Both Elizabeth and Tegan are foolish and make obvious mistakes. The only reason I finished reading it was because I had purchased it. This book was a waste of my time.
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on April 15, 2011
I had high hopes when I started reading the "Witches Daughter" and I enjoyed the beginning. Soon, though I realized that I was reading a story that was overly melodramatic, preachy, and the plot was going nowhere fast. It was incredibly predictable and somewhere between Satan being summoned and the protagonist encountering Jack the Ripper and WWII soldiers on the front line, I stopped reading.

I love fantasy books and historical fiction, so I assumed that this was going to be right up my alley. However, there is just too much going on in this book and it is plagued with a simple problem: using ten pages to say what could have been said in one. The characters are not very likable and I was bored.
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on October 17, 2011
"The Witch's Daughter" started out well - kept my interest and I enjoyed the topic being set in modern times. However, when the story switches to the 1600's, 1700's, 1900's, etc., I became bored. At the end of each mini-story chapter, you knew the antagonist was going to show up and you could pretty well predict who it was each time. The storyline was repeated in each era, just a different setting. Not a book I'm glad I spent my money on.
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on May 26, 2014
I am not sure what led me to this book. At some point, I must have read a good review or been recommended of it, but I don't remember. I had misgivings about ordering it after reading the jacket copy--it did not sound like something I would typically read--but, I dove right into it after it arrived.

It started slow and with a meandering narrative. In parts, it lacked clarification and detail--for example, is the older brother "simple" as he is, at one point, described? Or is he a methodical, steadfast person, as he is described elsewhere? It is as if the author had the character fleshed out in her mind, but failed to get her image down on paper for the reader to find. It left me confused and wondering why he was even included in the story at all. In other parts, details were included that were not part of the story arc and which would have been better cut out altogether. The protagonist dotes on her younger sister (in a very cliched, overly written manner), and, upon the sister's death says she will "never be whole again," but the sister barely gets mention throughout the rest of the novel and neither does the protagonist's apparently never-ending grief over her loss. Further, the sister's death is meant to have shaped the main character's personality/desires/viewpoint to some extent, but as a reader, that is never really in evidence. The character appears to be largely the same before and after the deaths of her whole family.

There are huge gaps in this story. We learn of Elizabeth's time as a youth (before and immediately after developing her magic) and then a brief period of time in Victorian London, where Elizabeth encounters Jack the Ripper, and a slightly longer stretch during WWI, where Elizabeth works as a nurse at the front battle lines. But there is a period of 25 years or so between those two time periods and absolutely no explanation is given for where or what Elizabeth was doing in that time. Nor is there any explanation for what Elizabeth did before she arrived in Victorian London (a span of 200 years). Then, as we read the modern-day story of Elizabeth and Tegan, which takes place in 2007, no explanation is given for what Elizabeth as been doing for the previous 90 years, except for brief mentions of an unspecified amount of time spent with a coven of other witches. If the author wanted to write an epic story spanning hundreds of years, why didn't she do so? Or, at least, why didn't she fill us in regarding Elizabeth's whereabouts and experiences between the four pillars of the main story.

The author missed opportunities to fully develop Elizabeth's character through her early days as a fledgling witch and whatever early years she spent fleeing Gideon Masters. The author makes reference to Elizabeth's early "lovers" but never introduces them to the reader. After she loses her virginity via a violent rape and we later learn her 'witch senses' give her a heightened awareness of sensations and emotions, it seems like that is a gaping hole in Elizabeth's life story. It is especially noticeable when we are supposed to believe she has fallen madly in love with Simon Astredge. The whole story line of her love affair with Simon is glossed over and we are left to guess at the details. Simon is written as a caricature of the perfect gentleman, all soft words and admirable devotion to his "beloved" sister. Where, in any of this, is the reader supposed to feel as Elizabeth feels? I can't comment on the final love affair between Elizabeth and Archie, because by that point I was skimming large sections of the story, bored and frustrated. In the end, I concluded it had been as cliched and vapid as the Elizabeth-Simon love story.

Skipping over the story for the moment, whoever was responsible for the editing in this book should be fired. On page 218, there is a wall of text paragraph that encompasses FIVE separate topics. Most fifth graders could tell the author and editor how better that 'paragraph' could have been structured. The author misused affect and effect at least three times that I noticed (could have been more, but since I skipped sections of the book, I can't say for certain) and there were dozens of other grammatical slip-ups that can't be attributed to period-dialect. The book may have been poorly written, but the editing was even more shoddy. I've seen worse, but I still find it disgusting.

I could include here a great many other things I found wrong with this book--they are innumerable. But, honestly, I don't want to waste any more of my time on it. I am posting this review in the hope that I can save someone else a few dollars and a few hours. Find something better to read. This book is lacking in nearly every aspect of a good novel.
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on July 18, 2013
I'm compelled to be tougher in grading this book than I might generally be owing to the fact that I've read several other books in the genre in the past year or so.

it does not have the literary merit of Mary Sharrat's soaring "Daughters/Witching Hill" which earned an easy 5 stars from also lacks the absolute fun of Physick Book/Deliverance Dane....and the combination of story and character and history in Discovery of Witches.

I think it aspires to be all three but falls short.

the author picked three interesting times in history but the quick escape from one to the next seemed like takes a lot of effort to sustain a narrative...three historical shorts wrapped in a modern setting do not a novel make. a particular plot device became wearying by the end.

About 90% through the main character asks herself if she's learned anything in her 300 years of escaping the antagonist and concludes that no she hasn't. what?

some lovely writing to be sure but very poor character development

not likely to read more from Brackston when there are better to choose from
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on April 13, 2014
This book read like a poorly written young adult book, with a trite and contrived plot and a main character who, despite being some 350 years old, was unable to see the danger facing her until many chapters after a reader with a brain does. The writing was stilted and shallow, with no subtlety, nuance or artistry. It's one of those few books you just keep on reading because you're convinced it has to get better. Unfortunately, that was a vain hope. Don't bother.
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on January 4, 2012
I bought this book when it was recommended after reading Deborah Harness's book 'A Discovery Of Witches'. I can't believe I wasted my money like this. It was boring beyond belief. It did not hold my attention and it was a huge effort just to make it to the end.
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