The Witches of Storm Island

Book I: The Turning

Romance - Suspense
150 Pages
Reviewed on 01/03/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Lisa McCombs

It all begins at Massachusetts Bay Colony, June 1, 1685. Fourteen-year-old Maude is the obedient daughter of Puritan parents fastidious about their membership in the Congregational Church. Maude never questioned her existence nor the expectations of her family. Still resolute in abiding by the rules, she doesn’t waver even when she finds herself mesmerized by the exotic Imelda, the barefoot, colorful, herb mixing enchantress that employs Maude to be her assistant. Under Imelda’s tutelage, Maude learns of the passion within her to find true love and personal worth. Unfortunately, her station as the dutiful daughter is threatened when her devotion to the Jewish born Micah is thwarted with her parents' plan to marry her off to a widower, Mr. Abbot. As Maude struggles to accept her fate, she becomes the target of a witch hunt of puritanical prejudices that ultimately lead her to the arms of the man of her dreams.

The Witches of Storm Island Book I: The Turning by Linda Watkins is a remarkable story of the historical time of the Salem witch trials and the dangers that surround individuals viewed as “different.” The unexplained actions of persons of this time period are explored and brought to vivid detail that keeps the reader captivated with the injustices suffered by the ignorance of early American settlers in the attempt to justify heinous punishments that defy religious and personal beliefs. Linda Watkins weaves an addictive tale that explodes into what I believe is a bestselling saga. I can’t wait for the continuation of The Witches of Storm Island!

Neil A White

The Witches of Storm Island, Book 1: The Turning by Linda Watkins takes us back to the year 1685 and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Fear, suspicion and the hushed whispers of witchcraft are rife amongst the Puritanical enclave. Ms. Watkins does a masterful job in bringing to life the daily lives of the colony’s inhabitants in this all-too-brief novella. However, fear not, The Turning serves as a prequel to a full-length novel – and series – involving the adventures of the protagonist, Maude Prichard.

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of that era’s Salem witch trials, Maude finds herself working for an herbalist, Imelda, whose cures are suspiciously ahead of their time, and falling in love with Micah, a young Jewish boy she is forbidden from seeing by her Puritanical father. With shades of Romeo and Juliet and The Scarlet Letter, the three are forced to flee the Colony to the perceived safety of Storm Island. But will the island prove to be a safe haven? And what of the mysterious “Body Thief?” Ms. Watkins leaves the reader with many an unanswered question, and many delicious threads with which to weave a majestic tapestry for the full-length novel to come.

I look forward to the next installment in Maude’s adventures. And in particular, an expanded glimpse into the life and times of the colony’s inhabitants, the myriad struggles they face, and a deeper dive into a fascinating time in the early history of this nation. The Witches of Storm Island will leave you wanting more. I wonder if Imelda has a potion to remedy that?