Over the summer, I was craving more writing opportunities and stumbled upon Bethany House Publishers Book Review Program. Each month, they send out a list of titles, and writers can request a free copy of the book for review.
My first book for review, Dragonwitch, arrived just a few weeks later. I had been seeking new fantasy titles, and this one, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, struck my fancy. The Lord of Gaheris is on his deathbed, and arrangements are quickly made for his would-be heir, Alistair to marry Lady Leta, a young woman who has long expected to be handed over in marriage without much say in the matter. Lady Leta wanders the castle walls, rarely seeing her betrothed and meets The Chronicler, a dwarf who heads up the castle's library. Leta finds something of a home in the library, and The Chronicler agrees to secretly teach her how to read. All of these relationships, from cold Alistair to the bookish Chronicler, prove immensely important as the death of Lord Gaheris sets into motion a series of prophecies long since turned into children's stories.
Rich with dragons, faeries, goblins, and more, Stengl's book weaves an interesting tale. That said, it took me far longer than I anticipated to get into the book and into the rhythm of storytelling. I started and stopped the book numerous times over the course of several weeks, and normally, I can devour a book in just a few days. Perhaps I should have read one of Stengl's other books in her Tales of Goldstone Wood series first, and that is what I would recommend to other readers. The fantasy story is told well-enough, but readers need more background to truly appreciate the tale.