on April 10, 2012 :
This book had a lot of potential to be a great read in my eyes; historical setting, nun turning to witchcraft, brother as a templar knight going on a crusade. Long lost siblings finding each others, just so their worlds would clash and them to turn on each others.
I really wanted to like this book and for what I knew about it, I really thought I would. The beginning was very promising, but when it got to the point, where we meet Juliana (the sister) as a twelve year old nun things take a turn for the worse. Ready to step into the role the convent’s abbedissa had prepared her as an almoner and on her first sick visit Juliana has an epiphany when the old man tells her to live her life and not live it for others.
After the visit it over she wanders off and buys a manuscript saying Wicca in the the title. I don’t know much about historical facts, but it really seemed odd to me, that a twelve year old nun at the time would carry that much money with her – especially on a sick visit. I swallowed it for the story’s sake, since the girl would turn into witchcraft, so she had to learn it from somewhere.
His brother Clement is trained as a knight and signs up to be a templar knight. It’s stated that he’s been one with God since he tried to drown his newborn sister (because his father told him they would have to give her up) and been a very good christian since then. When he first heard about templar knights and what they do (turn heretics into christian by the force of the sword) he has been determined to want to be part of them. And yet he doubts their way of life (killing people and be religious at the same time) already during the same evening.
For me the characters weren’t real at all. The best written one might have been the abbedissa in the convent, but we don’t see her that much. The dialogue is stiff and has some modern sayings mixed in it. The biggest reason why I didn’t like the book though, was that everything was told. The author uses telling instead of showing as her technique, and it just doesn’t work. Also there’s lots of info dumps – in a way they’re nice tidbits about historical times, but doesn’t fit the book.
I think this would be great if a storyteller was telling it by the camp fire, but as a novel it just doesn’t work. It took me a long time to finish the novel and for a while I thought I wouldn’t, but in the end it’s a fast read. By all means do sample it and see for yourself – maybe you like it. The book was proofread and clean to read, so it’s better than lots of others out there. I’m afraid I don’t really know who to recommend this one to. And those who are wondering, the witchcraft is what it historically was (mixing some herbs is what’s used in the book), so don’t expect any magic.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)