Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Winter Witch” as Want to Read:
The Winter Witch
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt

The Winter Witch

(Shadow Chronicles #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  12,237 ratings  ·  1,242 reviews
Fledgling witch Morgana must defend her love, her home, and her life in this enthralling tale perfect for fans of Discovery of Witches

In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana, who has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see her m
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Winter Witch, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cardmaker I've read both books. One book has nothing to do with the other.…moreI've read both books. One book has nothing to do with the other.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,237 ratings  ·  1,242 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Winter Witch
I am of various minds about this book. The Winter Witch tells the tale of Morgana, a girl who hasn't spoken for years, being married off to Cai, a widower who needs a wife because his job requires he have one. You have a supernatural flair as Morgana is a witch (though magic not something she can control so easily), and a fairly somber tone throughout the entire book as Morgana discovers enemies and circles around Cai warily.

First off, the book is both in first person (through Morgana's POV) and
Feb 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gah. I had hopes for this book given that the Witch's Daughter was tolerably decent, but unless you just like to be depressed, anxious, and, frankly, bored, don't bother with this one. Nothing happened until 98% of the way through. Just injustice heaped upon injustice wrapped in dread and covered with tedium. Her tagline, which appeared frequently toward the end, "It will not do. Really, it will not," would have been far more effective had these words preceded action in any way, shape, or form. ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
The Winter Witch is the second witch-themed novel by Paula Brackston (her first was The Witches’ Daughter, published in 2009), but if you’re worried about them being connected, rest assured, they are both standalones. I myself haven’t read The Midnight’s Daughter, but that didn’t stop me from becoming fully immersed in Morgana and Cai’s story. If anything, I was pleased to know that I have more of Brackston’s magic waiting for me in the future, be it The Witch’s Daughter, or her upcoming novel, ...more
Lyndsey O'Halloran
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Witches are one of my favourite subjects in books because there are so many different variations of how they are written so I was really looking forward to The Winter Witch.

To start with, The Winter Witch is told from a very strange point of view. Part of the story is told in the first person through Morgana but then also in the third person at times, which is mostly when the story surrounds Cai. I have to be honest and say I absolutely hated this. I found it very confusing for the narrative to
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I enjoyed this. A little predictable, but the Welsh words and descriptions of the country made the day of reading a good one. Wales and witches always put me in mind of Stevie Nicks... A nice combination. I usually do not want a Hollywood ending, that said, I liked Cai and Morgana so much that despite other losses I wanted to see them happy.

I look forward to all the rest of Paula's books... And P.J.'s also.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2018, dnf
It will not do. Really, it will not.

Well, it certainly didn't do for me because I had to struggle to finish this.

1.5 ⭐ because I stuck to it and didn't DNF
Jessica Knauss
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this sensitively written novel, Morgana, a wild girl who went mute upon the disappearance of her gypsy father, must marry a man she hardly knows and learn to fit into the social fabric of his Welsh town. Cai, the man in question, must take a wife in order to become the porthmon, the leader of the yearly drove of cattle to London and the most powerful man in town. But we quickly find that, in spite of his continued love for his previous wife, who passed away in childbirth, Cai harbors a deep a ...more
Cocktails and Books
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cnb-reviewers
This book is absolutely wonderful. From the moment I picked it up, I could not put it down. The author’s meticulous attention to detail transports you back to 19th century Wales, painting a beautiful, breathtaking picture. She introduces you to Morgana, a mute witch who conveys far more through expression and actions than she ever could in words. After losing her father, Morgana’s mother worries for her, and arranges a marriage between Morgana and Cai, the most powerful man in town. Reluctant at ...more
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this because of the lovely! The story had potential, but ehhhhh, not so much. Let me tell you something, if I were a witch with potent powers, you better believe I'd be witching it up every chance I got. I just felt like saying, "Come on girl, use your powers! Save the cows, save your man, kill the witch!" So, it's with great shame that I'll admit I'd skipped to the last three pages and, guess what, I didn't miss a thing. ...more
Nov 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I was under the initial impression that The Winter Witch would be a different sort of novel than the one I read - which is a historical romance novel about a Welsh witch. Nothing wrong with the latter genre, but it's jarring to switch expectations in the midst of reading.

Basically, the plot line of The Winter Witch follows a formula romance with a marriage of convenience, similar to a Western rancher picking a wife for status purposes. However, in this case, the ranch is in Wales. Further, the
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Paula Brackston has spun a vivid and absorbing tale that captivated me from start to finish. I loved this book.
This is a novel that encompasses fantasy, romance, and suspense and combines them to create a very absorbing story. The female protagonist, Morgana, is a wonderfully penned character that I felt an immediate attachment to. Her speechlessness means that words do not define her, her actions do, and this was a thought-provoking concept. At times there was much frustration on Morgana's part
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"The Winter Witch" is the story of Morgana, a young witch, that has lost her voice. She is married off to Cai, a man who is not really sure what to make of his new wife. She seems fiery and he is a little thrown off by her at first. Eventually they work well together and begin to fall in love with each other. Set in Wales, this is a good historical fiction tale with a bit of magical realism thrown in for good measure.

I enjoyed seeing how Cai and Morgana begin to build a life together. They don'
Carol Storm
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully well-written and beautifully researched, this is a story of witchcraft in 19th century Wales that features a feisty young heroine, (who's also a good witch) an adorable rugged cattle rancher, and the most sinister and seductive evil witch ever!

This was both one of the most satisfying and the most frustrating books I've read in a long time. The things that work are really wonderful. A beautiful love story, beautiful scenery, nature descriptions, fascinating details about Wales and the
Mary Gramlich
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are times the best thing to say is nothing at all

Morgana has been gifted since birth with the ability to say everything without making a sound. Morgana cherishes the small sights another would take for granted but also vindicates herself when ill-treated. Being married to a man she does not know is the last choice she would have made but her mother insisted and Morgana obeyed.

Quickly Morgana discovers that her new husband, Cai Jenkins and his life is a treasure trove of discovery. The anim
Jacqueline J
A nice story with some lovely elements. There were bits of brilliant language and vivid images. It was great to read a story about droving which is something that is not greatly explored in historical fiction. There was magic and a struggle of good against evil.

It was told in alternating view points of the heroine and hero. That's fine but I didn't enjoy the tenses it was written in. I don't like first person present POV which the heroine's portion of the story is told. I totally despised that
Kathy Dini
Apr 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
3 stars - It was good.

There is a distinct difference between slow books and boring books, namely that I can enjoy a slow story but cannot suffer a boring one. This one was slow, but not boring. I enjoyed the author's way with words and the atmospheric feel of the novel, but it was not what I was expecting. This has a fairytale-esque, Disney for adults feel, which is nice sometimes, but generally is too sweet for my personal tastes.

Favorite Quote: If yo
Library of a Moon Child
Actual rating - 4.5⭐

This was my 3rd book for #tcwitchyoctober20 and it was all I needed right now 😍 it's not only a great witchy, but also a great book for this season.
The book starts with Morgana, a young girl who's been living with her mother, on her wedding day in the 16th century. She's young, her future husband is 25 and already a widower. They also don't know eachother. Morgana has no wish to be married off, even more so because she can not talk, so how is she supposed to get t
 Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Jenn Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ Schu
The Winter Witch wasn't my favorite fantasy/historical fiction book. The historical element and Welsh culture was briefly brushed over.
I had hoped to learn more of Morgana's relationship with her father and her magical background as well as her training with Mrs. Jones (one of the few characters I liked in the story). The cattle drove storyline didn't hold my interest for long despite my interest in stories about animals.
I found myself speed reading through many parts of the story due to boredom
I tried to like this book. I really enjoyed The Witch's Daughter by the same author.
This was just SO SLOW and I didn't feel attached to the main characters. Morgana's muteness was frustrating rather than something for her to overcome. Cai's aloofness just made him feel less enjoyable to me as a reader.
And then when the action starts, it just takes off! Many things happen in a short amount of time and I felt like the author and the characters were both just racing to get the book done.
I liked the
lucky little cat
*Lovely* shade of violet blue on the cover. What's inside is a so-so story of a young witch married off to a promisingly quiet working man in a Welsh mountain village packed with predictably small-minded morons. By the numbers, right down to the Welsh endearments. Bachgen and cariad me away, there's not one darned surprise or original idea hiding anywhere in the book. ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this in the sense that I enjoy fast food. Cheap, trashy, enjoyable, but ultimately fills me with regret.

90% rising action filled with injustice after injustice, with no win for the main characters , before everything being wrapped up in a rapid and dissatisfying fashion for the remaining 10% of the novel. So little time is spent on the final confrontation and the aftermath that I actually feel cheated, like somehow Amazon didn't give me the last chapter of my ebook.

Brackston's prose is
Mary Botkin
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up at the library by happenstance. Quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read. A very easy, yet intriguing read. I don't give spoilers. I am eager to begin Paula's next in line. READ THIS BOOK. ...more
Anarae Harpenau
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good

Slow going at first but the characters build in your heart and you won't want to let them go. Great book. Highly recommend.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The details are amazing, truly amazing! I loved the writing! BUT there was just something that did not reach out and grab me. I want to visit Whales just from the descriptions in this novel alone... Actually, I feel like I have been to Whales just from the descriptions in this story alone... The vivid details are just immaculate and Paula makes a seamless transition from your imagination, I could picture Whales as if I were staring out of my window! It is truly profound!

I mostly like
Book Mitch
3.5 **spoiler alert**

I liked this story. As I read it, it played out as a movie in my head; almost like a Disney Movie. This book however, was not YA, but read like one. I think I would have enjoyed it more if that was what I was expecting. But instead, I was expecting an adult witch book.

I enjoyed the setting of Wales. I enjoyed the female protagonist's free spirited spunk. Although, I have to say, in the times that they were living I have a hard time believing that she was so spoiled as to be
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. And for the first quarter of it, I did enjoy it! I liked Morgana, I liked Cai, I liked the potential they had. But after a while, everything became slow and got boring.

As I said, I loved Caj and Morgana. I think I wouldn't have minded had this story been focused more on them and less on the drove and the evil presence in town that Morgana could feel. In the beginning when it was just them, I loved it! But it quickly started to drag and it was a
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A tale of love, adventure, danger, growth, witchcraft & the fight of good against evil. The characters are so well written that you find yourself transported with them & following their adventures, trials & successes through the landscape of Wales. Morgana is a lovable yet naive young woman who blossoms throughout the book, as she learns to love, trust & fight for those she loves.
A.M. Cummins
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this story a bit boring until the very end. The back and forth of love and anger between Cai and Morgana was tiresome and a bit pointless. It took to long for her to work her magic. It would have made more sense writing about her practicing magic instead of wrangling ponies.
Nancy Ellis
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had to give this five stars because I was so excited when I finished it and realized I had just read a truly good solid witch story, something I've had difficulty finding in recent times. Now you're going to ask what made it so good......not being a very good writer myself, I often have difficulty putting into words my feelings about books. I loved the way this was written in wonderful story-telling fashion, no pretentiousness, no trying to be anything other than what it was....none of the "sp ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Witches of BlackBrook (Witches of BlackBrook #1)
  • The Witch's Kind
  • The Daughters of Maine (Witches of BlackBrook, #2)
  • A Secret History of Witches
  • The Age of Witches
  • A Witch in Time
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book, #1)
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs (The Physick Book, #2)
  • Time's Convert
  • The New Witch
  • Freydis (Daughters of Freya Book 1)
  • The House of Velvet and Glass
  • The Norse Queen (The Norsewomen #1)
  • Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)
  • Wildswept: Book Seven of the Circle of Ceridwen Saga
  • Signy Kráka: Part One
  • Mean Girls at Work
  • Signy Kráka: Part Two
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Shadow Chronicles (3 books)
  • The Midnight Witch
  • The Silver Witch

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
33 likes · 16 comments
“If you are not able to travel, he told me, the next best thing is to read. Read all you can, girl. And store up that knowledge, for you never know when you will need it.” 39 likes
“There is none so quick to dismiss what they don’t understand as those who are afraid of it. And maybe with reason.” 6 likes
More quotes…