Book Review: The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan

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The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Page count: 426 
Date of Publishing: February 15, 2022

Book Review: "The Great Witch of Brittany by Louisa Morgan

“The Great Witch of Brittany” by Louisa Morgan is a captivating journey into a world of magic, mystery, and powerful legacies. Set in the enchanting backdrop of 18th-century Brittany, France, the novel follows the life of Ursule Orchière, a young Romani girl born into a family of fortune-tellers. As the latest in a line of women with magical abilities, Ursule’s story unfolds as she navigates a path fraught with secrets, danger, and the enduring quest for identity.

The narrative opens with a young Ursule observing her mother, Agnes, weave elaborate tales and fortunes for their customers. Their caravan, nestled in the heart of the Romani camp, becomes the stage for their performances. Agnes expertly deceives her clients, while Ursule takes on the role of collecting payments with a shrewd determination that belies her tender age. It’s evident from the start that Ursule is not an ordinary child; her plain appearance and intense black eyes conceal a hidden talent that sets her apart from her clan.

The heart of the story lies in the revelation of Ursule’s true power – her ability to read. This seemingly innocent gift proves to be a double-edged sword in a world where literacy is frowned upon among the Romani. The discovery of a forbidden book, a grimoire passed down through generations, unveils the truth of her magical heritage and the dangers that come with it. The prospect of being labeled a witch terrifies Ursule, driving her to conceal her abilities even as she seeks to understand and embrace them.

Morgan’s writing masterfully immerses readers in Ursule’s tumultuous journey. The lush descriptions of the Romani camp, the picturesque Brittany landscapes, and the intricacies of Romani life bring an enchanting richness to the story. Ursule’s internal struggles, her evolving relationships with her mother, and her yearning for a life beyond the constraints of tradition create a multi-dimensional protagonist who is both relatable and unique.

Throughout the novel, Morgan deftly navigates Ursule’s transformation from a curious and headstrong girl to a woman grappling with her power and its consequences. The complexities of Ursule’s relationships, especially with her mother Agnes, are vividly portrayed. Agnes serves as both a source of guidance and a cautionary tale, and the interplay between them adds depth to the narrative as Ursule grapples with her own desires and destiny.

“The Great Witch of Brittany” weaves a captivating tapestry of magic, heritage, and self-discovery. Ursule’s journey to harness her abilities while navigating a world fraught with witch hunters, superstitions, and societal norms is nothing short of riveting. The novel resonates with themes of empowerment, the burden of legacy, and the courage to forge one’s own path, even in the face of adversity.

Morgan’s storytelling prowess lies in her ability to create an atmospheric narrative that draws readers into a world where magic and reality coexist. The pages come alive with Ursule’s trials and triumphs, her growth as a woman, and her resilience in the face of adversity. The vivid portrayal of Romani culture, its customs, and the intricate dynamics within the clan adds authenticity to the setting.

In the grand tradition of Louisa Morgan’s enchanting novels, “The Great Witch of Brittany” is a tale that captures the imagination and heart. With its rich historical backdrop, layered characters, and themes of identity and empowerment, the book is a spellbinding journey that invites readers to explore the hidden corners of their own destinies. For those seeking a captivating blend of magic and historical fiction, this novel is a must-read, promising to leave an indelible mark long after the final page is turned.

Quote of the book

“Her clan already viewed her as a misfit, first because she had been silent for so long, and then because, when she did begin to talk, she spoke like a miniature adult. She refused to learn to sew or cook, and preferred to be alone rather than gossip with the other girls. The boys mocked her, trying to make her cry, but she refused. She was small, but her fists were hard and quick.”

About the Author

Louisa Morgan lives and writes and rambles with her Border Terrier along Lake Pend Oreille in Scenic Idaho. A musician and a yogini, she finds time to teach workshops here and there and she finds inspiration in the woods and mountains and waters of the Northern Panhandle.

She says, “It’s been fascinating writing about witches, and I’ll be doing it again. But my next novel is a ghost story! I hope my readers will share some of their personal paranormal experiences.”

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