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The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter #1)

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,114 Ratings  ·  1,952 Reviews
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Angello Adrien The Salem era when she first met that warlock when she saw him dancing that night.and when she was fighting him with that soldier guy she was in love…moreThe Salem era when she first met that warlock when she saw him dancing that night.and when she was fighting him with that soldier guy she was in love with.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 27, 2011 Farfished9 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I think it was well written and it moved along at a comfortable pace….like watching a movie that isn’t too slow or too fast. It wasn’t trying to be more than it seemed like it was meant to be…a feel good and entertaining book….not always sunny and bright…not always gloomy and dark…pleasantly imaginative and vividly told.

These kinda books are underrated…I’m not saying they should be overrated either—but there is something very respectable about an author knowing how to tell the
Ben Babcock
You’re just going about your daily business, healing people and whatnot, and then what happens? The plague. Suddenly everyone in town is accusing you of being a witch and clamouring for the witch-finder to hang you for consorting with Satan and dancing naked with demons and whatnot. Isn’t that always the way of things? Don’t you hate how people are just so close-minded, even in as enlightened an age as the 1620s? Just because someone might be a witch doesn’t mean she worships Satan! Witches can ...more
Small Review
I was suckered into this book, despite the negative reviews, because the description sounded interesting and the cover caught my eye. Ugh, I should have listened to the reviews. Or, I wish the reviews had been more detailed as to why people didn’t like the book. I’m going to try to be detailed.

First things first, don’t believe that description. It’s sort of accurate, kinda, but it gave me the complete wrong impression. I was expecting to start out with her mother dead and then follow her as she
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jan 18, 2011 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it did not like it
I had such high hopes, even ignoring the poor reviews that I should have heeded as warnings. The first few pages held promise, but then something happened, the character turned cold, and I didn't feel an intimacy at all in the writing. I do not have an issue, as some seem to, with stories written as a journal after all, my favorite books are Anais Nin's diaries, so long as the emotions are genuine. The only character I remotely liked was the evil villain, as he was the most interesting one. Woul ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok
It was decent enough that I finished reading it, but The Witch's Daughter was, above all else, formulaic and repetitive. Even though it was a book of 4 stories in one, they were all basically exactly the same, following the same pattern of A then B leads to C. "Plot twists" were predictable, especially after the first two internal stories finished. I kept finding myself asking the main character the question of, "Really? You haven't learned? You're supposed to have lived through all of these dif ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Racysteed rated it liked it
I feel like this author has a lot of potential, but it wasn't quite realized in The Witch's Daughter. The characters were compelling, yet I consistently found myself wanting more: more depth, more backstory, more understanding of their motivation. Ms. Brackston has a talent for creating characters who draw the reader in and I really enjoyed the beginning and the diary entry format. Even the flashbacks worked for me, although it's becoming a worn format at this point. However, she undermined her ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Paula rated it did not like it
I usually love books with this premise but I only finished it because it was a book club pick. The story has an intriguing enough premise: a witch, hundreds of years old, meets a present day young girl and shares the story of how she became a witch and hopes to train the young girl as an apprentice. Through tales told to the young girl, we learn the tragic circumstances of her life and how she is constantly on the run from the man who made her what she has become. Each of her histories becomes r ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok
Well this was a HUGE disappointment to me. I love historical fiction, witchcraft, the supernatural....but this wasn't thrilling, this was a SNOOOOOZE. It started off promising enough, and then went quickly downhill. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, especially meeting the adult Bess and hearing her tell of her poor tragic childhood. Tegan as her side kick just irritated me, made it a bit Charmed-ish for me. Once we left the days of the plague and ended up in Ripper time London, and then to wa ...more
Nov 01, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
I love historical fiction, especially anything about witches and witchcraft, so I was especially glad to find this book. It's similar to the Daughters Of the Witching Hill, The Heretic's Daughter and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, but less about the witch trials and more about the life of an immortal witch as she traverses through history in her 300-some odd years of life.

The first few chapters were slow and I wondered if the book would get better, which it did, only when the author star
Deanna Sletten
Feb 16, 2013 Deanna Sletten rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My 5 Star Review

In 1628, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith (Bess) is a young woman when she loses her family to the plague and then watches her mother swing from The Hanging Tree, accused of being a witch. Scared and alone, she reluctantly follows her mother's wishes and goes to Gideon Masters' cottage in the woods to seek his protection and become his student. What Bess soon learns is that Gideon is a warlock—one who practices dark magic. Soon, a mob comes after Bess, proclaiming her to be a witch like
Feb 18, 2013 Donna rated it liked it
The Witch's Daughter was a fairly enjoyable read that made up in the evenly paced writing what it lacked in character and plot development. The writing flowed so beautifully that it was easy to lose myself in the story even when I felt that many of the characters lacked depth and the direction of the story was often confusing. For example, Gideon's obsession with Bess was never sufficiently explained which meant that his following her all of those years made little sense. It seemed beyond reason ...more
May 13, 2013 Palmer rated it really liked it
I found this book hard to put down once I picked it up. The way she transfers from the present to the past flowed perfectly. The author didn't have things happen too fast but they weren't too slow either. (Again why it was hard to put the book down because everything flowed too well to put a halt to it) The only thing I didn't like was the main character's opinion of Gideon. Perhaps I myself am a bit dark and find guys with a dark evil past more inviting than deterring. So I wish the author eith ...more
Jennifer Dundee
Good Premise, interesting writing style. But.. the ending. Sigh. Why do you do this to me books? Does your author get tired 4/5ths of the way through writing you? You should have more self esteem than to let youself be published with an ending that belittles the effort that went into imagining and creating you. Needless to say, I was disappointed in the author's choice of exposition. The final chapter, written from the perspective of the "Tegan" character, was out of place and just plain stupid. ...more
Jan 25, 2013 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For starters I don't understand why people criticize authors for their writing style, it makes no sense. All writers write differently, end of story. Also criticizing a fiction book because of the fictional events in it?? Again pointless. Now onto the book review.

It started out dry.. Really dry but it picked up quick enough and by chapter 5 of Bess's story I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. It was very well written, easy to follow, easy to picture the places and characters and it was e
This story starts in the present. A witch moves into a new home and attracts the attention of a local girl. Slowly she befriends the young girl and tells her about her past. She's lived a long time and the story steps back in time to when she was a young girl and came across magic. Another time period visited, was during killings of Jack of the Ripper in London. Again during the war too. These back stories of her life in different time periods are interesting. I prefer the story of her young day ...more
This reminded me quite a bit ofChocolatin the opening, but with a less personable main character. I didn't mind that so much, as I've been told this is a witch story where there really are dark powers, shades of grey, etc, etc. Once I got to the storytelling part, too, that was tolerable historical fiction, though not anything really surprising. (For a similar story about plague, for example, there'sYear of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks.)

In the end, it just fizzled out for me. Which is unfortunat
Dena (Batch of Books)
Feb 10, 2015 Dena (Batch of Books) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books, fantasy
I loved this book! It was captivating from start to finish. It was very dark, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that has qualms about witchcraft, magic, or the dark arts. Bess is a great character, who turns into a witch in a moment of desperation and spends the rest of her long life making retribution for it by caring for people. Gideon is a completely horrible person, and I loved how scary and relentless he was.

The book is told in alternatively from the present day journal of Elizabeth and
May 20, 2011 Tamara rated it liked it
This is a tough review to write because in general, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. Having said that, I had a problem with the Jack The Ripper insertion into the story. Really? Everything else was handled quite creatively and I don't think it was necessary to include it as part of the frame of a small portion of the story. My biggest complaint was not the semi-satisfying end (yes, sometimes things end the way that they should instead of happily ever after)but in the character of Tegan ...more
Jan 15, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
It was really hard to like this book when it started with such a dull premise and kept confusing the reader with lengthy and tedious flashbacks. I couldn't even tell what the chracter's motive was until 200 pages in. For the most part, it seemed like nothing more than a series of disturbing journal entries from a witch who is naive, gullible, easily seduced, and ignorant of danger that the reader can smell from a mile away thanks to the author's not-so-subtle hints. Truthfully, I disliked Bess s ...more
Feb 22, 2016 Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If you will listen," I said, "I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Will you listen?"

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I was hoping that I would like it but didn't really know what I was in for. This is historical fiction intertwined with supernatural wonder to birth a compelling story of a witch who is just trying to live her life but has been on the run for hundreds of years.
Feb 29, 2016 Erica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, pagan, favorites
This story is about a solitary Wiccan named Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, turned immortal by the one creature she spends nearly her entire existence fearing and loathing, the warlock Gideon Masters. Nearly four hundred years old, she finds a new place to settle turning out to be near to her first home when she meets a young teenaged girl named Tegan. Unknowingly at first, Elizabeth becomes attached to her as if she were her own daughter. Tegan obtains a huge interest in the craft and all she's accom ...more
Erin Arkin
Having been a history major in college, this book was perfect for me. It is a wonderful mix of historical events, great characters, and a moving story. I really did like this book and if you enjoy a little bit of magic mixed in with real history, you may like this one too.

The book opens in 1628 and Elizabeth/Bess is the main character. In present time she is 384 years old but at this time she is the teenage daughter of a farmer and lives with her parents, her older brother, and younger sister. A
Brandi ;)
I'm not going to star this book bc I didn't finish it. I just couldn't get into it like I had hoped and with so many other books waiting to be read and so many more on their way soon, I just had to put it down. Last year I would have forced myself to finish, but since I've become a GR member I've come to realize - there are just WAY to many books out there for me to waste time on one that doesn't catch my interest. So, maybe one day I will pick this book back up and finish it. It wasn't bad, jus ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Morgan rated it liked it
I thought this was a pretty good book, but three things disappointed me: the ending, the smallish font size and the character Tegan. I found Tegan to be annoying and thought her personality just didn't fit with the story. As far as the font size is concerned, I hate getting into a book and then having to stop reading because my eyes are sore. (I know some books make note of the font style/size but this one didn't, and it's just my personal opinion that it seemed smaller than most books.) It's w ...more
Tiffany Bolin
May 25, 2016 Tiffany Bolin rated it it was amazing
"If you will listen," I said, "I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Will you listen?"

In 1628, Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith (Bess) is a young woman when she loses her family to the plague and then watches her mother swing from The Hanging Tree, accused of being a witch. Scared and alone, she reluctantly follows her mother's wishes and goes to Gideon Masters' cottage in the woods to seek h
Laura Gelinas
Nov 06, 2014 Laura Gelinas rated it liked it
3.5 STARS for The Witch's Daughter

I began reading this book because I was drawn to the story of Elizabeth Hawksmith right away.

"My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins..."

I admit that it took me a few chapters to really get into this book, however drawn to Elizabeth that I was. Initially I found the present day parts rather boring, but once the story of Bess unfolded, an
Aug 18, 2014 Ami rated it liked it
Really more like 2.5.

I feel like this book is proof that I will basically read anything with a witch in it.
Patricia - Lady with Books
I was actually leaning more toward historical fiction for this book until demons and Satan showed up and the story tripped all over itself to end up firmly in the fantasy genre. The beginning of the book presents magic in a rational form, something that any craft practitioner would recognize today, and I believed the story would continue in that vein. But in the middle of the book the author takes a sharp left with how she is portraying magic and things get a bit silly from that standpoint. From ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Cresta rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-girly-reads
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston is a magical and mysterious piece of historical fiction.

The book takes the reader through a lifetime of events not often experienced by one person. In my Saturday Morning Summary I indicated the book was moving a little slow for me, and it was. However, like most great books, a turning point emerges and it becomes impossible to put the book down. I found myself digesting a large cup of coffee last night to be absolutely sure I could stay awake to finish th
Jan 08, 2013 Marti rated it it was ok
The rating was 4 stars and the cover art was intriguing, whichn had gotten me as far as considering this book a few times. Then when Amazon put it on sale for $2.99, I figured I had just about nothing to lose. Nothing except for a big waste of my time. At least I'm a fairly fast reader. The basic premise was that during the Great Plague, Elizabeth's mother Anne was accused and convicted of being a witch and sentenced to die by hanging. This, after Elizabeth's beloved father, brother, and sister ...more
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Paula Brackston (aka PJ Brackston)is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter, The Winter Witch, and The Midnight Witch(2014).

Paula has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. In 2007 Paula was short listed in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Da
More about Paula Brackston...

Other Books in the Series

The Witch's Daughter (2 books)
  • The Return of the Witch (The Witch's Daughter, #2)

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