I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

A Shameless Review

I have never really been one for fantasy, supernatural or science fiction novels, even as a child; I've always preferred going for real life drama, something that I can relate to. That is why I was a little hesitant when I began Coven of One by Kate Bousfield (aka Inner Minx in the blogosphere). A story about a witch? A story about spells? A story with words like scrying, athame, Akashic, Samhain, and grimoire? I worried that it would take more than a spell for me to fall for this kind of book.

Then along came Dorcas Fleming!

I instantly fell in love with this character, relieved to find that she was a "down to earth" protagonist in a world that was very easy to relate to: the witch in this story is not often on a broomstick and not often wearing a pointed hat, and the book is not saturated with hocus-pocus. This is a story about a strong, likeable woman who just happens to be a witch. The world created by the author is totally accessible.

What made this tale so adorable for me were the universal themes that a reader is looking for when they want an escape: it's a love story (the witch even has sex!); it's a story about good and evil; it's also about the battle to be accepted, and the struggle to belong somewhere and find a raison d'être.

This is a fun and easy read that runs to 247 pages. The author, in my opinion, hasn't made the mistake of delving too deeply into witchcraft and black magic, the detail of which might have turned out to be too heavy. I believe the balance is just right, with very little getting in the way of what in essence is a feel-good story about Dorcas Fleming and her mission to save a small, remote town from a deadly curse. There is humour too, which gives Dorcas an air of mischief. The talking with cats is fantastic!

It has to be said though that the editing was disconcerting in parts, with commas missing before the closing speech mark at the end of much of the dialogue. Example: 'I miss her' he said. Some full stops were also AWOL. I wondered if this was deliberate, except that the commas were in place in other sections. Was it a problem at the printers? This is a minor grumble, however, as it didn't distract me from enjoying the book.

I look forward to the next adventure of Dorcas Fleming. I also look forward to recommending it to people who have always been suckers for fairies, gremlins and witches - my mother included. People like me will also love it. I have the sneaky feeling that this character is going to work her magic far and wide!


Anonymous said...

hang on to that book Shameless, those mucked-up commas mark it as a first edition :)

great review (in the way it was written and in its conclusion)

Anonymous said...

Aren't witches supposed to have sex then? Given your recent post on this subject, I would appreciate some feedback on how I handled it - heh!

Glad you liked it, and very glad you liked me cats.

unarex said...

I'm not a fan of sci-fi(ish) stuff either, but if the characters have a realness to them, I agree, then it doesn't really matter. Good characters are good characters. Is this available in the US?

Also, Minx: I saw your fave movies- 2 of which happen to be mine as well: It's A Wonderful Life, and The Jerk. I don't have them listed on my profile, but I really should add the Capra/Jimmy Stewart film.

And The Jerk: just one of those that's so stupid it's funny.

Again, Shameless: Nice Hand.


Anonymous said...

Jessica, Coven is easily available through Opening Chapter (link on me blog)and through Amazon UK. Skintwriter, above, is me publisher btw.

It would be nice to think that Dorcas will appeal across the reading spectrum - a foot in two worlds so to speak.

Anonymous said...

I love it when I pick up an unlikely book and find a wonderful character hidden within the pages. Your review was really good at evoking that feeling. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The Coven of One captured my attention and kept me enthralled with Dorcas Flemming, from the beginning until the end. Well, I've got twenty-six pages to go. I've been waiting until I had time to savour the last few pages.

I was downright angry when Jubal ran off, so I was glad to see him return.

Also, I noticed the commas being missing, but I figured that anything can go amuck in a first edition.

I loved your review Shameless, and Minx, I hope and pray that there are more adventures awaiting Dorcas Flemming. :)

Anonymous said...

Great review of a great book! Nice one, Shameless ...

S. Kearney said...

The other thing I really enjoyed was the choice of names. Delicious names!

Skint, I expect this first edition book to increase in so much value that when I'm 50 I can afford to retire and go off on binges of all shapes and sizes!

Minx, the sex scene was good in that it was pruned and subtle! And with someone with a name like Jubal, who's a fisherman, the imagination went wild!

I will have to show a leg soon to balance things out!

Oh, and yes, sorry not to link to where you can buy the book ... Minx's site, or Skint's, listed on the right, are your starting points!

Anonymous said...

See, that worried me too, but now that I know I'm not only going to get hocus pocus, I must get a copy.