The Witchwood Knot
Victorian Faerie Tales #1
Publisher: Starwatch Press
Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 2023
Genre: Historical Fantasy / Gothic Romance
The faeries of Witchwood Manor have stolen its young lord. His governess intends to steal him back.
Victorian governess Winifred Hall knows a con when she sees one. When her bratty young charge transforms overnight into a perfectly behaved block of wood, she soon realises that the real boy has been abducted by the Fair Folk. Unfortunately, the lord of Witchwood Manor is the only man in England who doesn’t believe in faeries—which leaves Winnie in the unenviable position of rescuing the young lord-to-be all by herself.
Witchwood Manor is bigger than its inhabitants realise, however, and full of otherworldly dangers. As Winnie delves deeper into the other side of the house, she enlists the aid of its dark and dubious faerie butler, Mr Quincy, who hides several awful secrets behind his charming smile. Winnie hopes to make her way to the centre of the Witchwood Knot through wit and cleverness… but when all of her usual tricks fail, who will she dare to trust?
r e v i e w
Certainly as many of you know, Olivia Atwater is one of my favorite modern day authors. So, of course I jumped at the opportunity to advance read her upcoming release, 'The Witchwood Knot.'
Taking place in the same world I've come to know and adore.. as the Regency Faerie Tales, Olivia has lead us on a new journey in this.. her Victorian Faerie Tales series. This one's just a little bit darker, with a lovely gothic fantasy setting full of both wonder and chills. Even the cover has a beautiful papercraft feel to the art style that really gives off delicate, antique vibes.
Our main character, Victorian governess Winifred Hall, is charming and relatable. One of the things I love about Olivia's characters is they always feel very natural.. from their flaws to their quirks. There's no over-the-top attempt to make them stand out, they simply do because they come across like very real people.
Winnie doesn't even particularly like children.. or people.. for that matter and she has good reasons for the way she feels. Her backstory is richly textured. She's kind, though not falsely friendly. She's warm with those who have earned her love and trust.
Another of my favorite things about Olivia's writing.. is every character in the book always has a fully-fleshed out personality and story of their own. We may get more or less of it based on their role in the story, but make no mistake.. they are each individuals with a very specific part of the tale to tell.
The character development is as lush as the story itself.
Mr. Quincy, who is an absolute delight in all of his persnickety interactions.. and the clear frontrunner for my favorite in the book, despite my fondness for Winnie. Robert is at first, rather decidedly obnoxious, but as I came to understand his situation.. I liked him very much too. There are plenty of other great characters too.. and the villains are indeed dark-natured, just in a palatable way. For the most part.
As Olivia's writing has such a whimsical ambience, she did surprise me a little with a very morbid reveal about two-thirds or so of the way through. She handles it with her usual grace and eloquence, but I was a bit stunned at the horror of what I came to realize.. and I loved that. In fact, I'm still talking about that one incident in the book, around home.
All in all, it was another wonderful story. She just never fails me as an author. I always know I can count on her for a new tale I'm going to obsess over. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, romance, historical fiction, or just all around great storytelling. I can see a potential trigger or two here for some people, so if you have any of those.. just dm me and ask.. or do your research first.
Now I need a signed copy.. and hopefully a pretty special edition down the road. *cough* Kickstarter *cough* Fairyloot *cough*.. someone help me before I choke here..