Title: The Malan Witch
Author: Catherine Cavendish
Page Count: 130 pages
I love atmospheric little seaside cottage locations in stories, and Catherine Cavendish is amazing at giving these salty, windy places the justice they deserve. The Malan Cottage gave me the creeps even before the spookiness really picked up the pace, and that’s because there’s just something so haunting to me about cliffside waves and choppy waters. And if the moodiness of the story’s setting isn’t enough to give you goosebumps, there’s a witch or two here that definitely will!
The Malan Witch introduces us to Robyn, a woman visiting her sister’s recently purchased and renovated cottage in an attempt to relax and take a bit of a vacation after the passing of her husband shakes her world. Robyn was an easy character to get to know and relate to – an avid reader, she curled up with one of my favorite horror books within the first few chapters and that was enough for me to take a liking to her immediately!
Shortly after arriving, Robyn starts to encounter some weird happenings in the house. On a trip to the nearby small town, she meets with a few locals who tell her the story of sister witches that lived and practiced dark magic right where her sister’s new cottage is situated. I won’t go into too much of the witchy backstory here, because finding out about it was part of the fun of discovering what exactly what was happening to Robyn.
There were a few small things I wish had gotten a bit more expanding upon, like the relationship between Robyn & her late husband, which I feel would’ve packed a bit more of an emotional gutpunch. As it stands, without some extra bit tugging at our heartstrings and making us care, the mentions of Robyn’s husband could honestly have been omitted for me since they didn’t seem to make much of a difference either way. I also think that there were a couple bits of dialogue that seemed a bit too simple or easy for the story, things that were too convenient almost, like a particular phone call with Robyn’s sister, or happening upon the same few people that the characters need when they’re in the town. That said, none of these things dampened my enjoyment of it overall, to be honest! I still had a lot of fun.
I loved the symbolism in the story, from the small poppets (dolls) to the terrifying crow. If you love books featuring scary witches and spooky magic, this is a quick one that you’ll be able to jump into and finish in a day. It’d make perfect oceanside reading for anyone on vacation, but even curled up on bed like I was, it was a heck of a good time! I usually love everything Silver Shamrock Publishing puts out, and although this is my first book by Catherine Cavendish, I can already tell you it won’t be my last!
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