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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm not usually a huge fan of books that blend history and fiction, but this surprised me by being a really fun read. Whilst it's not hugely realistic, that doesn't really matter as it's a great adventure tale of a young woman developing her witchcraft whilst trying to protect herself, her family and the imprisoned princess that she serves. The constant threat of discovery and execution that hangs over Meg, her aunt and princess Elizabeth gives tension to the story, and I was always eager to continue reading. The writing isn't always perfect - I got a little sick of reading sentences that start with "Indeed" - but overall it was well enough constructed to keep my attention. The relationship between Meg and the dark, brooding Alejandro is well done too. The book also deals with issues of loyalty, self-realisation and feminism.

This book can get a little dark and even gory in places, so I would probably recommend it to those aged above 12. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels!
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When Meg, a young gifted witch, is made to look after princess Elizabeth she enters a world of secrets and danger. Forced to hide her powers from the Catholics who hold control she must serve Elizabeth while staying true to herself. Things get complicated when Elizabeths half sister, Queen Mary, sends a Spanish priest and his dashing young priest-in-training to endure Elizabeths religious conversion. Steeped in mystery, danger and romance this is an enjoyable read with a good fiery main character and it has a suitably horrible bad guy in the witch hunter Marcus Dent. The first in a series, this is a decent and well thought out historical based YA.
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on 29 July 2013
Witchcraft and Tudor history? Sign me up! Meg is lady-in-waiting to an imprisoned Elizabeth and, along with her aunt, are instructing & aiding Elizabeth with magic. Things take a turn for the worse when a Catholic priest and his young apprentice are sent to Woodstock, not only because Meg is a witch but because Alejandro just might be the one thing to bring everything crumbling down around her. The return of the witch-hunter,Marcus Dent, also sends Meg's life into a tail-spin and having been told by her aunt that a traveller would bring danger. The witch-hunter is determined to have Meg as his wife and to her horror this is encouraged by her father & brother.

Although mostly a tale of romance, the historical and witchcraft aspects of the book were fascinating. I really felt how dangerous it was for Meg to be a witch in the 1500's and just how one wrong move in front of the wrong person would bring everything tumbling down. Meg was a great character, strong, willful, independent and fiercely loyal. Like most girls her age though she was also capable of making mistakes and in those times the penalties were much more severe.

The biggest part of the story though, is the romance between Meg & Alejandro, between a witch and a soon-to-be Spanish Catholic priest. You don't get a much more risky romance than that! I liked how it was Alejandro that was more open to the idea of being with Meg, that Meg was so obviously falling in love with him but couldn't/didn't want to see that, didn't want to have to give up everything she held dear. The tension and chemistry between the two was palpable, the sexual tension especially leapt off the page and I for one can't wait to find out what happens in Witchfall
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on 29 July 2013
Review: a fabulous novel about a witch who is friends with Elizabeth 1, as unbelievable as this sounds it really makes for a great story! Meg is a wonderful main character, we discover thought the novel that she is a witch as has been sent to Woodstock to serve Elizabeth as she has been exiled here. We also know that she has an aunt who is a witch and a father and brother who might have the ability to betray her. Meg is actually a very strong woman who knows her own mind, when those around her try to trick her or boss he around, she doesn't allow it, she doesn't use her magic very often, but when she does, she makes sure that she gets the maximum benefit from it.

Like all good witch tales, she comes under the suspicion of a witch hunter and it looks like it could all be over for meg. I have the admit,in found myself holding my breath during some of the scenes where she was being hounded or interrogated and there was seven a really low point where I had a little cry because of events going on in this novel!

Of course there is a love interest too, a saucy Spanish priest nonetheless, and even towards the ending of this novel, we never really find out whether meg succumbs to his Spanish seductions or not, I think this is wonderful twist to the story.

The thing that I really enjoyed about this tale is the historical accuracy. Tudors is a favourite period in history for me and so reading about Elizabeth and her relationship with her sister, and indeed the country, was excellent and definitely surpassed my expectations. I was lucky enough to receive the sequel to this fab historical YA fiction Witchfall and I can't wait to get on and get reading that-look out for the review soon. They are definitely something that should be added to your reading list!
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on 30 September 2012
When I picked up Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb denying that there was going to be a witchy theme would have been like denying that the sun doesn't rise in the east. So needless to say, magic was to be expected. What I hadn't were the cauldrons, animal entrails and good old fashioned eye of newt.

Plunging into the magical swirls of this book I found magic, political ploys, betrayal and love at every stir of a wooden spoon. This was an explosive combination made all the more leathal given the time setting of 1554, where witchcraft is taken very seriously and punished by death.
In most historical witchy young adult novels, set in Tudor times, the certain death of someone found guilty of withcraft is frequently mentioned and used as a threat; but as readers we are sheltered from seeing this gruesome sentence carried out. Victoria Lamb though had no qualms in going that extra mile, making me really feel the full extent of the danger of being accused of sorcerey. These were dangerous and cautious times where the bravery of one woman was the stupidity and death of another.

Having met and travelled with Meg Lytton, you could say that she is one of those that could fall into either category. Proud of her magical heritage and the power that runs in her veins, ready to surge when needed, Meg is aware of the dangers of Tudor times but lacks the healthy fear of those who have felt the chase of the church. Although perhaps a little foolhardy at times, Meg has a big and strong heart. She fights for what she believes in, is loyal to her allegiances and no impeding death could make her waver from her cause and what she felt was right.

Meg's situation becomes all the more complicated when young, handsome and soon to be priest Alejandro de Castillo walks into her life. What llore dangerous affection could there be than between a witch and a young knight a step away from taking his final vows. Feelings were fought, and moments between them were painfully stolen in the darkened corridors of Woodstock palace.

Victoria Lamb depicted with a true and brutal brush dqrk times. The cruel and cold truths of Queen Mary's reign struck me hard. I avidly read of treachery, betrayal, herecy and wickedness with the thin thread of a tentative impossible romance in such a harsh and bitterly black world.
Meg Lytton is a young witch in a century that was not ready for her. her story was gripping and I look forward to continuing it in the sequel that Victoria Lamb is currently writing tucked away in a cottage.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The year is 1554 and the Princess Elizabeth (later to be Elizabeth I) is trying her best to stay alive under the tyrannical rule of her half sister Queen Mary. Elizabeth is not the only person who is trying to stay alive under the reign of Mary - non-Catholics are at risk of execution too.

In order to survive Elizabeth must agree to convert to Catholicism and buys time by wanting to understand thoroughly and not just giving lip services to the process. Mary agrees that her sister should have a tutor who can explain the different aspects of the religion to her - and so enters Alejandro de Castillo, a young priest, to assist with Elizabeth's conversion.

At the same time, and this is where the mistiming takes over, there are witch hunts going on; the witch hunts actually took place under Elizabeth's successor, James I of England.

Elizabeth has a maid called Meg Lytton, who is hiding her own secret. She has powers of her own. Powers which could see her burnt at the stake (we tended to hang witches where continental Europe tended to burn them).

Other than those couple of historically inaccurate parts which jarred against my over education it is an interesting and exciting story. I took it with me for a hospital appointment and was ticked off to be interrupted when they called me in for the tests (this is the second time that it has happened).

I am in little doubt that this should be the start of a great series of stories about the adventures of young Meg Lytton and I look forward to the next instalment.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Catholic Bloody Mary reigns, Protestant heretics burnt at the stake. Witches, too, are ruthlessly hunted down. Sixteen year old Meg Lytton has double need to take care. She is not only a witch but attendant to Mary's sister Elizabeth - now virtually a prisoner at Woodstock's crumbling palace. Plots, counterplots and rumours abound.

What is Meg to make of the two new residents from Spain, especially the dashing Alejandro de Castillo? Is he a spy or genuinely training for priesthood? Can there be romance, or is Meg being used? About local Marcus Dent there can be no doubt - he truly evil, determined to marry Meg by fair means or foul. (All rather odd as he is a Witchfinder and suspects she is one - surely a conflict of interest?) Prepare for much witchery, many narrow escapes and, at least once, heartrending horror.

An enthralling read for teenagers, pleasure added by what is already known - that Elizabeth, here in such danger, has not long to wait before Queen. Will Meg, though, survive when the threat is so grim from a villain so cruel?

Recommended.
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on 13 July 2012
My first thought when I'd heard about this book back when Victoria first followed me on Twitter was: Oh god I need this book in my life! I love the Tudor history period, and I love Witchy things. Combine the two and you have a book that is more or less designed for my personal enjoyment. Seconded? Then you perhaps don't need to read any more before going straight off to your chosen book store to purchase.

Witchstruck follows the first person narrative of a young witch called Meg Lytton as she goes into service as maid to the Princess Elizabeth while she remains imprisoned within the ruined palace of Woodstock. The first thing I noticed in this book was Elizabeth being somehow involved in the witchcraft, not on an active level, but she's definitely interested which is a dangerous stance for an imprisoned royal to take. It immediately added a sense of impending danger to the novel which makes you want to keep reading. The second thing was the atmosphere Victoria has created. It's immersive and the only way I can really describe it is kind of like a dark fog creating a sense of mystery and foreboding. I felt as though I was well within my comfort zone reading Witchstruck and I loved that about it.

I have to admit to not enjoying the ending as much as the beginning and I can't even put my finger on why, it just fell flat for me. It could be because, after all, this is a young adult novel and I usually prefer adult fiction, or maybe because I was only able to read it in small chunks while my dad was visiting and would have read a lot better in one sitting. I don't really know but it's worth making your own mind up. I also noticed a couple of inconsistencies throughout though they didn't affect my enjoyment of Witchstruck at all because at the end of the day it's a historical fantasy, but I don't believe Tudor witches would have known who Hecate was with her being an ancient Greek goddess, and "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" wasn't in the Bible until the 1600's when the King James Bible came into being.

Even so, there is a lot going on so the novel doesn't get boring, there's a lot of foreboding as danger is constantly imminent and Victoria has done a fantastic job of portraying how dark these times were. Not just for accused witches but also for non-Catholics and rebels to the crown. She has encaptured the spirit of this alternate history fantastically and I urge you to give Witchstruck a read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this book for my daughters who are ten and interested in witches, magic, vampires and the usual 'Twilight' type fantasy world that is currently so in vogue. I think the book is more suited to a teen / young adult audience as the story is quite action packed and complex in places....one of my daughters has read the book and she really enjoyed it although I don't think she really fully understood it.

The story is set in Tudor England although I did cringe a few times at the disparities so clearly evident between what is fiction giving an illusion of history, but for all that it is an engaging read which follows an interesting character through life, loss and love with magic and mystery in the mix.

Well written, fast paced and certainly not dull, I can imagine this will be a popular series of books.
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on 14 June 2013
This novel is a story that is set in Tudor times during the period that the Princess Elizabeth is kept as a prisoner by Queen Mary, her sister, at Woodstock. It is a refreshing take on an age old story. The heroine of the novel, local girl, Meg Lytton, has inherited powers from her aunt. She is also a maid in waiting to Princess Elizabeth. She uses her powers to protect the princess from enemies but falls foul of witchfinder Marcus Dent, her jealous and hideous suitor. When her aunt is accused of witchcraft Meg herself is placed in great danger.

The novel is beautifully written and plotted and is certainly wonderful as a YA story that educates. Whilst rooted in sound historical facts concerning Princess Elizabeth and the suspicious edgy nature of the era, this book is a page turner. Witchstruck is thrilling, a perfect mix of imagination and history since history becomes alive and with that animation utterly engaging. We love the characters, Meg, her young brother and even her dangerous cousin but most of all we admire the hero, the mysterious Alejandro, a trainee Spanish priest. Together they save Princess Elizabeth and Meg, despite herself, finds love. It is an unusual tale that introduces known historical characters in a new and interesting way. Clearly the novel is thoroughly researched but to the writer's credit the research is seamlessly integrated into the narrative. It would make a great movie. On a final note I was drawn into it because of Victoria Lamb's attention to every day details such as plucking a goose, the village lanes,the woods, clothing, the every day life in a shabby gate house at Woodstock. Excellent and not just YA but crossover.
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