cover image The Winter Witch

The Winter Witch

Paula Brackston. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-00131-3

Brackston (The Witch’s Daughter) delivers an intimate paranormal romance that grounds its fantasy in the reality of a 19th-century Welsh farm. Widower Cai Jenkins needs a wife to qualify as a porthmon (head drover) and to help run Ffynnon Las (“Blue Well”) farm. Morgana Pritchard, mute by choice, is no blushing bride, however: she has Romany blood, an affinity for animals, and the growing power of a witch. Already an outsider, Morgana runs afoul of locals who blame her for unusual weather and sickness, as well as one who desires Ffynnon Las for the power of its titular well. Whether on a drive with Cai to take cattle and sheep to London or staying home to learn to be the new Witch of the Well, she is challenged by hostile groups who threaten her freedom and life. Brackston provides clear portraits of her protagonists and their lives on the farm, even if her villain veers a bit to the melodramatic and overweening. (Feb.)