Spellcaster by George Bachman

Spellcaster by George Bachman, 262 pages, Sublime Ltd., April 3rd 2017, Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

“It took all my own will merely to swallow water. “What sort of powers?”

“Amalrich claimed he could descend into certain forbidden passages beneath the earth where our world meets others.” Lady Kinloss gave me a secretive look. “Unfortunately any records he might have made of his trips are lost. But recently one of these supposed keys passed into my hands.” I nodded. “I keep it locked away in a glass cage and take it with me when I’m out. Would you like to see it?”

Spellcaster is a work of historical fiction set in England. Unlike traditional works in this genre, this book has a strong paranormal element. Spellcaster weaves together two tales- one involving past lives and unfinished business, and the other involving magic, relics, and bargains in the present. If you enjoy Jane Austen’s writing style, you’ll enjoy the style of Spellcaster.

Christine Daniel, a Provencal young lady, is spending the summer in England with the Cote sisters. She is coming out into society, officially becoming a marriageable young woman. However, she has another purpose. Christine’s fevers induce visions and she’s hunting for a remedy. Rather than fight the visions, Christine follows their lead. She seeks out “the mage” to befriend her as her visions portend. She encounters Lady Kinloss, whom she determines to be the mage of her visions. She rents a home for herself and her friends in the countryside from Lady Kinloss. Christine strikes a bargain with her to gain possession of a relic.

I felt the book started off a bit slow. The last half of the book picked up pace and revealed more information, tying things together as the story continued. I enjoyed this novel, especially its interesting reincarnation twist. When magic is used, it’s apparent that Bachman researched beliefs about magic in this time period.

This book can be found at Spellcaster by George Bachman.

Check out other reviews at:

Paperback Darling’s review of Spellcaster

Spellcaster at Kariny’s Book Frenzy

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A Light Within by Ann Heinz

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Well Written, Historical Literary Fiction

A Light Within by Ann Heinz, 340 pages, March 29th, 2017, Genre: Historical Literature and Fiction. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

A Light Within is an impressive work of literary, historical fiction. Heinz portrays the etiquette, history, style, manner of speaking, laws, and social conflicts of America in 1859 with incredible accuracy. At no point did I feel as though I weren’t visiting that time.

Cora Fielding is a bright young woman, passionate about becoming a doctor and helping alleviate the suffering of others. Continually frustrated in her ambition, Cora demonstrates she will go to any lengths to achieve her goal, even if it means pretending to be a man. Her twin brother Carl discovers her ruse and tells their father. Rather than put her in her place, he sends the twins off to Pennsylvania to their respective gender appropriate college of medicine. In 1859, the nation is heading towards Civil War, but is not yet on the cusp of it. Cora begins working part time for an attorney named Peter Ware who is actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Sharing his abolitionist views, Cora joins him in trying to help slaves gain freedom and prevent Southerners from stealing free people off the Northern streets to cart down south into slavery. Her experiences in her new town build her ethical resolve, driving her to take action. Cora finds friendship, love, and grows closer to her twin while in Pennsylvania.

Heinz employs a third person narrative style. Her narrative voice bears a resemblance to authors of classic 19th century literature such as Anne Bronte. Settings are adequately described without an overabundance of detail. The romance is a subtle subplot, tenderly played out. Carl, initially irate with Cora, learns and grows over the course of the story. Dialogue and etiquette are accurate for the time-period. Pace slows a bit towards the middle but picks back up again and keeps you reading till the end. There are many historical and societal threads to weave together here and Heinz does so with precision.

My favorite supporting characters were Reverend Sebastian Cooke, though he appeared but briefly, and Emmeline. Reverend Cooke took a beating and lost an important item, but was not deterred from serving the cause of justice. Emmeline was willing to do the right thing, even if it meant causing discord within her family and losing her place with them. Both were characters to be admired.

Overall, I enjoyed reading A Light Within. I’d recommend this book to those who relish a historical read and enjoy literary fiction. You may find this book at Amazon for Kindle at A Light Within .