The Return of the Witch is a sequel to The Witch’s Daughter. In The Witch’s Daughter, we are introduced to Elizabeth “Bess” Hawksmith, a practicing witch who is, at the time the novel begins, three hundred and eighty-four years old. She befriends a young girl by the name of Tegan and sees a potential that causes her to tell her story to Tegan and ultimately bring her into the life of witchcraft.
Elizabeth tells the history of how she became a witch, as well as stories of her past life and how a man/warlock by the name of Gideon Masters entered her life, helped train her and for lack of a better term, “stalked” her throughout time. Gideon believes he is owed something by Elizabeth and is out to get what he wants at any cost.
In The Return of the Witch, the story opens five years after the first novel. Tegan has learned and studied as a witch and can no longer be considered an “apprentice” but a full-fledged witch in her own right. Elizabeth has returned after this long time and they are reunited. Gideon is missing and they can only assume that he will return to get what he desires. The witches cook up a scheme to defeat him and enlist the help of others to keep themselves safe.
This novel (like the first) tells of events that have occurred in previous times and other places and (unlike the first) the points of view of both Tegan and Elizabeth. The introduction of Time Stepping (the ability to travel back and forth in time) makes things that much more interesting. The first novel only tells of historical events from Elizabeth’s perspective, while the second jumps in time and provides for description from both hers and Tegan’s perspectives. In this novel, they travel to Batchcombe woods, a fictional place in Britain during the Civil War and later into Victorian London.
The novels are very well researched but not mired in historical details. There is plenty to get the feel and emotion of the times/places but doesn’t slow the pace of the story. The second novel could easily stand on its own and you won’t be lost without reading the first, though you will be missing some of the first adventures of Tegan and Elizabeth and stories of Elizabeth’s past including her past encounters with Gideon. This sequel is a continuation of the first, introducing new concepts like Time Stepping, different types of witchcraft and provides information about Tegan, her studies and how she became the witch that she is. The subject of witchcraft is handled properly. The author, Paula Brackston, introduces concepts with strict rules and then follows them. If you are willing to believe a bit of magic, she uses it, but the rules never change so that it feels far-fetched or unbelievable – well worth the read.
Also by Paula Brackston
Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Dunne Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.