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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
The Salem Witch burnings of the late 1600s have long been fodder for both writers and readers. As a result, it’s likely Linda Watkins, winner of several awards in supernatural and horror fiction, has another upcoming winner in the romantic suspense story, The Witches of Storm Island, Book 1: The Turning. The Romeo and Juliet of this novel are Maude, a beautiful young Puritan, and Micah, a handsome young Hebrew…and never the twain should mix, let alone fall in love in that rigidly religious Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1685. Further, heaven help any devout Puritan girl who learns about herbal healing from an enchanting and seemingly ageless woman, Imelda, who encourages Maude to follow her heart when it comes to Micah, and discourages her from engaging in conversation with the creepy Mr. Morrison, a man of mystical and dangerous powers.
After Maude, with Imelda’s help in keeping things secret, gives both her heart and body to Micah, she innocently falls prey to the evil Mr. Morrison and unwittingly makes a deal with him that will haunt her for life. When fate separates the lovers, an unhappy Maude is forced by her family to marry a Puritan. When that husband meets an untimely death, and after the original lovers are reunited, Maude suddenly finds herself falsely accused of being a witch. (Weren’t they all?) Now the love story cedes to a suspense-filled horror story as Maude fights for her life and new family, and lives in fear of what that past deal with Mr. Morrison will cost her in the future. At a guess, that theme and plot is what Linda Watkins will explore in Book 2 of this series.
The Witches of Storm Island is a captivating read, both for what it reveals of the religious rigidity of that ugly era in American history, and for its tantalizing insertion of the supernatural into what is otherwise a beautiful love story. The plot is well executed, the characters well-drawn, the dialogue plentiful, and the emotional engagement high on the part of the reader. You will close this book eager to see what happens next. What a way to hook your fans! Well done, Linda Watkins.