Author: Ruth Warburton
Release Date: January 5, 2012 (paperback)
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Overall: 4 Stars
Anna Winterson doesn’t know she’s a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power.
When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that’s controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.
When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what’s real?
When Anna Winterson and her father move from London to the small town of Winter, Anna isn't exactly thrilled that her new home, Wicker House, reminds her of a haunted house. After she invites a few of her classmates over for a sleepover and shows her new friends a damaged Grimoire that her father found while renovating, she learns the locals call it the Witch's House. The girls decide to have some fun, casting a spell that will bind an object of desire, and when it's Anna's turn, she can't help thinking about Seth Waters, the incredibly handsome boy who sits beside her in class.
When Anna arrives to school after the weekend, she is shocked by Seth's sudden attention. But magic can't really be real, right? Frantic to undo the damage and reverse the love spell, she casts more enchantments, unaware of her own awakening powers as a witch. Emmaline, a classmate who keeps to herself and a witch in her own right as well, is understandably standoffish to Anna at first for the havoc she's wreaked in such a short time. Her family takes Anna under their wing, teaching her how to properly focus when using her powers and that they must keep their abilities a secret from non-magical people. Emmaline soon warms up to Anna though, becoming the loyal kind of friend you always want on your side.
I couldn't help rolling my eyes when Anna and Seth were declaring their feelings because the strength of them came a little too soon for my tastes, but I went along with it instead of questioning it too much. Anna's a kind person, confused about her new powers as a witch and how she's inherited them, but no matter how hard she tries to convince herself that Seth's feelings are true, a part of her still can't help believing it's only because of the spell.
I loved how Ruth Warburton has vividly brought the fishing town of Winter to life, with beautiful descriptions that practically make you feel the wind blowing from the sea. The Old English incantations were also really cool, and it was evident how much research Ruth Warburton has poured into folk traditions.
Ruth Warburton's debut novel, A Witch in Winter, is an addictive read brimming with witchcraft lore, romance, and magic on each page. The Winter trilogy is off to a promising start and delivers an enchanting tale that will cast a spell on readers! I hope A Witch in Winter will eventually be published in North America because it definitely deserves more exposure and readers to enjoy it!
Thanks so much to Hachette Children's Group UK for providing this review copy!