I met the author, Helen Hollick, at a seminar run by my writing group. It was about self-publishing, she was very good and gave some great advice. But when she talked about one of her books, Sea Witch, she made it sound a bit like a Mills and Boons (my sister used to read them, I’ve never touch one honest!) I remember clearly thinking well I’m not going to buy that one then! I have since made contact with her on facebook and twitter and felt guilty about not reading it. Why I should feel guilty I don’t know but that’s me. I have a list of books; by authors I’ve meet on social media I feel guilty about not having read yet. So wracked with guilt I downloaded my copy and read it, here is my review.
Sea Witch is about the lives of two characters, both orphans, both forced to flee their homes, the man Jeremiah Acorne becomes a pirate the girl, Tiola becomes a mid-wife and healer. It’s a will they, won’t they get together plot.
What I didn’t like
Now I’m prepared for someone to tell me I’m wrong on this but Tiola’s Cornish accent was very annoying. She spoke with perfect pronunciation and then two of three Cornish expression got chucked in. I think you either have to go the whole way or not at all this half attempt at it bothered me, it didn’t ruin the book, but still.
This is probably my dislike of romantic fiction but there was way too much introspection from Tiola. She spent far too much of her life on the beach wondering about Jeremiah, may be this is a girl thing, I don’t know.
What I did like;
The story and pace. It was excellent, the right amount of action, plenty of background so it all made sense. Can’t say too much as I don’t want to give spoilers but the plot all fitted nicely without feeling contrived.
The incidental becoming important, there is lot of this in Harry Potter which is why I love it so much and Hellen Hollick managed it very well in her book. I’m dying to tell you some of it but it would give the plot away so you will just have to read it.
Ups and down, I recently reviewed a book which was good, but no real challenges for the protagonist, not the case in this one! After reading the book I think the author may have a bit of a sadistic streak, she made her character’s fight and suffer for each other, by the end I was really routing for them.
The magic, I have mentioned in passing my love for books with a bit of other worldliness in them, this one had it in quite a subtle way but very well done and crucial to the story.
The historical accuracy, I know it’s not important to everyone but I love her attention detail and accuracy. Where she cheated for the sake of the story she explained in the back of the book.
For me it was a surprisingly good book which got better the more I read. An excellent story and likeable characters. Set in the past with very accurate detail plus some magic. I’m going to give four and half stars I’m knocking half off for the endless introspection form Tiola. Well if you want to know if I’m right you will have to go and buy the book, and let me know what you think, particularly about the Cornish accent.