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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Bards of Birchtree Hall by Amanda Maynard-Schubert finds Neala Moran and her mom embarking on the next chapter of their lives when they move to Ireland. Neala expected a few growing pains as they start their new lives, but the last thing she expected was a magical Otherworld. As she makes new friends, Neala works to solve the mystery behind the weird occurrences that have plagued her life since they arrived in Ireland. A chain reaction occurs after Neala touches a mysterious tree and unlocks shocking secrets of her origins along with amazing otherworldly abilities. Suddenly, the most extraordinary things happen with a horse materializing from the ocean and a mysterious stranger in her dreams, calling her by the name of Neala Stormbringer. As more secrets come to light, she uncovers that she's a bard and has inherited incredible powers that take her into an amazing Otherworld where faeries and magic exist. After Neala learns of a dangerous threat, she finds the fate of everyone she cares about placed upon her shoulders.
An exciting adventure of magic unfolds before Neala's eyes when their move to Ireland becomes a journey to discovering her true self. Her journey starts with change which finds her grieving the loss of her father and adjusting to a move. This is a lovely read that brings Ireland to life through stunning mythology. Amanda Maynard-Schubert captures the details and magic of faeries and an enchanting Otherworld. The characters are delightful and each has a specific role in her journey with her new friend Aine, music mentor Fin, the charming Torrin, the handsome Eamon and his brother Lorcan, and a mysterious fox pup. The further Neala delves into the world of druids and the Otherworld, the more she finds herself. The story takes her through an emotional journey about self-discovery, family, and magic. Maynard-Schubert delivers a delightful read for lovers of urban fantasy, faeries, and magical adventures in The Bards of Birchtree Hall.