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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Emma and the Banderwigh: Tales of Widowswood Book 1 by Matthew S. Cox is a fantastical children's story that revolves around ten-year-old Emma who lives with her parents, her brother Tam, and her Nan in a small two-bedroom house. Her mother helps in the village and her father is captain of the guard. Her mother and Nan are druids and Emma learns that she too has magical powers. Things change when one morning an older girl, perhaps sixteen, comes out of the woods. The entire town whispers about a child-stealing monster that lurks in the forest. It is at that time Nan tells Emma about Banderwigh who lives in the darkest parts of the forest and feeds on sadness. With its imaginative characters, magical elements, fantasy, druids, family love, action, adventure, mystery, suspense, and horror, the book is a compelling read.
All the characters are well portrayed and Emma’s character is real, relatable, and memorable. By sketching a dark world, the author makes the story eerie and adventurous, one that will keep young readers glued till the very end. The twists and turns in the plot give the story many layers, and the story also has a child abuse angle which adds to the darkness, along with the dark forest and the Banderwigh. The narration is detailed and descriptive and will take readers right into the scenes and the story. The author keeps the tempo of the story till the very end, thereby giving it a good pace and movement. There are no dull moments in the plot and I am sure that, like me, young readers will be waiting for the sequel.