Met By Moonlight
Whew. When I finally finished this book, I felt I could finally breathe. It is intense. It is magical. It is emotionally draining, and I feel that I am better for having read it.
Diana is a modern day Wiccan living in Salem, Massachusetts. On Samhain (or Halloween) she gets sucked back to the England of 1647, to a coven participating in a Samhain ritual at the peak of England’s Burning Times. The Burning Times were a dark time in history for Wiccans – thousands of women and some men were tortured and forced to “confess” to witchcraft before they were publicly executed in England and all over Europe. Diana is taken in by a woman who is part of the coven. During her stay, the witch hunters come to the small town she is in, and begin the process of turning neighbor against neighbor, all in the name of rooting out the “malignants”. There, in this small town, she meets Upright, a man she has seen in her dreams, and a man who is a witch hunter.
This is not one of those stories where the heroine “saves” the hero from his wicked ways. Upright is not what he seems. Diana finds herself drawn to him, and yet repulsed by his words and actions. He is a contradiction. A mystery. He approaches her with puritan rhetoric, and seely (fairie folk) gifts. His behavior at night is different from in the day. He looks more at home in the forest, and when he is with the witch hunters, he is chained up like some sort of hunting dog. Diana must find some way to save him, herself, and the coven members who have become her friends.
This book had so many good points. Diana is portrayed perfectly as a 20th century woman who found herself suddenly persecuted. Her fear became my fear. Upright is not a typical hero, and yet he was fascinating – made up of so many contradictions. The description of the times is very realistic. I could feel the tension, the stifling lack of freedom, and the fear. The sensuality of this book is intense and beautifully written.
The one problem I had with this book – I never found out exactly who Upright is – is he seely, a changeling? I also had trouble following the magical theme of the book. More description was needed about the rituals and Upright’s own personal magic in order for it to be less confusing.
One last comment. The cover of the book is one of the simplest and most beautiful I have seen this year. If I hadn’t read about this book and ordered it, I would have picked it up off the shelf to look at it more closely as I was browsing.
This book is not comfortable to read, but well worth the time. It brings a difficult part of history to life. Don’t expect to do a lot of sighing, but expect to enjoy it anyway.