Book Review and Blog Tour: The Water Witch by Jessica Thorne

Book: The Water Witch
Author: Jessica Thorne
Pub Day: August 5, 2022 
Buy Link:

Book Description:

Sitting side by side on the clifftop, he turns to her solemnly and says, ‘The water witch is real.’ She rolls her eyes and grins, teasing him. ‘Sure. A psycho mermaid. Got it.’ But now he’s gone forever… will she find the truth beneath the waves?

Brittany, France. Ariadne Walker’s fiancé Simon drowned in the stormy Atlantic Ocean doing what he loved: searching for the lost underwater city of Ys. Local legend says it was destroyed centuries ago when the princess of Ys became a water witch, cursing the name of the man who betrayed her.

Ari never believed these tall tales. And the letter Simon sent before he died finishing their relationship is a devastating secret she’ll take to the grave. But arriving in Brittany, Ari encounters a man emerging from the sea in a rocky cove, saltwater dripping from his dark hair. Rafael swears the legends are true: and his ancestor was cursed by the water witch. Now, his own life is in terrible danger. And the secret to breaking the curse lies hidden in the lost city.

When Ari finds a strange engraved mask on the sea bed, and a cryptic map amongst Simon’s things, she has no choice but to believe Rafael’s plea. Can they follow the trail and save Rafael’s life? Poring over the map by candlelight, the flickering flames only add to the heat between them… but will Ari’s fragile heart soon be shattered all over again? And will they ever find Ys and break the curse – or will the water witch demand another sacrifice?

An absolutely addictive romantic fantasy read filled with passion and mystery, that will sweep you away to the wild coast of northern France. Inspired by real myths and legends from this magical place, The Water Witch is perfect for fans of Luanne G. Smith, River of Shadows and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

My review:

I liked The Bookbinder’s Daughter, another of Jessica Thorne’s books. So I jumped at the chance to read and review this one. While I think I like The Bookbinder’s Daughter better, this is an enjoyable story!

Bad enough that Ariadne (Ari) Walker’s fiancé Simon broke things off with her. But shortly after the breakup, he died. Drowned in his pursuit of the legendary lost city of Ys. Ari has sworn never to return to Brittany, and while she grieves Simon’s death, she sees it as a tragic accident. She puts little stock in local lore that says the princess of Ys was horribly betrayed by one she loved, and as a result, cursed the man who betrayed her and his descendants.

When her brother Jason asks her to come to Brittany to help bolster his case that his team has, in fact, located Ys, she plans to stay a couple of days. She has no intentions of staying in a place that brings her so much pain. But Rafael du Lac, charming and ridiculously wealthy and next of the du Lac men to die if the water witch has her way, convinces her otherwise. Soon things are happening that she can’t explain, and she finds herself drawn tighter and tighter into the search for Ys. Finding the city and breaking the curse may be the only way she – or any of them – survive.

The romance felt a little too rushed, too insta-romance for me. I mean, Ari is still heartbroken over both Simon’s dumping her and his unexpected death. But she’s now developing feelings for the new guy, who may be dying soon, too, if the curse has its way. I know, liberties must be taken for the book. That’s just a trope that bothers me a little.

And bless Rafael’s heart. He’s got so much money, he thinks it fixes everything. Ari says she needs to get back to her job? He sets up a foundation for the school where she teaches and covers all of her expenses to boot. There’s a problem with an artifact they found and the university whose help they may need authenticating everything says it’s a fake? He dumps a load of cash on them and suddenly they’re irrelevant. I almost felt sorry for Rafael, because clearly no amount of money can keep the water witch from coming for him.

But the lore, based on actual legends of Brittany, is fascinating. Characters are not always what they seem, and I found plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing. Thorne’s writing style is both beautiful and easy to read, and Ari is an easy character to care about.

So this wasn’t quite up to the level of The Bookbinder’s Daughter for me, but it’s a solid four-star read. Very enjoyable if you’re a fan of a good paranormal tale with a dash of fantasy, romance, and adventure.

Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from Bookouture and NetGalley. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About the author:

Jessica Thorne saw Star Wars at an impressionable age and life was never the same. She’s loved fantasy, romance and science fiction ever since and spends her time looking for adventure – in the pages of her books.

Sometimes she is Ruth Frances Long and won the European Science Fiction Society Spirit of Dedication Award for Best Author of Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2015.

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