This debut novel from Suzanne d' Corsey, is rich with the scent of her native Scotland. Filled with evocative descriptions of scenery and language, it's a story no less written by a magical hand... as in the opening Prologue:
My grandmother passed me in transit. She was leaving, I was coming into this world, our spirits meeting at the open door to my mother's womb, as she bent over the bed to close the thin crinkled lids of her own mother's eyes......And she gave me the gift in that interchange. Not only her Highland name, Morag, to be mine. She kissed life to a double spirit. A duality that can see the past and sense the future. And the irrepressible desire to manifest divinity in the act of lovemaking...
This sets the scene for a tale of Witchery in the late 70's, a time of merging the old and new ways together - requiring magical skills of its own - yet still retaining the mystery of a bygone age. We meet Morag the Witch and get to know her intimately as she weaves in and out of a plot laced with intrigue and the ups and downs of human struggles of relationships and of life and death.
Even the scenes of an intimate nature are handled with a certain charm and skill from a writer who is not afraid to cross over into sexual territory and does it well. The way in which she places the character Rosalind quite naturally, in query over her own sexual preferences is what, for me, gives this story some grit. I admired this part of the writing and would hope that in the future the author will explore and expand on it; sex is every bit of what people want to read about as long as it is written into the context of the story and does not appear just for its own sake!
Personally, I found the amount of characters sometimes confusing (for me it diluted the story line) and over worded in places... However, it does not compromise the magic of a good tale and its redeeming qualities have to be the authenticity of the writing shining throughout the book.
I was reminded of Susan Fletcher's Witch Light at times - especially the scenic descriptions - which is to compliment the author whole heartedly as I loved Witch Light.
I take my hat off to Suzanne d' Corsey for a well crafted first novel, earning its place in the Witch Lit genre. Her next one isn't too far away I hope, as she is both a writer worth looking out for and following in the future.
For more info on Suzanne and her work: