The Sun Witch
The heroine of Linda Winstead Jones’s latest novel faces quite a challenge. For 300 years the women of her family have been cursed and unable to have a normal relationship because they are doomed to lose any man with whom they fall in love. Through the generations many of the women in the family, including the heroine’s older sister Isadora, have seen their husbands die by age 30 or have simply had them disappear.
The heroine and her sisters are all witches with varying powers. Sophie, the youngest, is possessed of a very loving nature and, while she helps her sisters in their cottage, she is generally assumed to be less powerful than they. As the story opens, Sophie realizes she is looking for a man she has seen in dreams. She is aware of the curse blanketing her family, but Sophie is also certain she likes men and doesn’t want to go through life never knowing them.
The man Sophie saw in her dreams is Kane, a wounded rebel she finds lying near a pond where she swims. She invites him to be her lover and, after their interlude, she wishes good things for him and returns home. She later discovers not only that she is pregnant, but also that she possesses an incredible magical gift — a gift that will play a very important role throughout the story.
A year after their meeting, Kane returns to Sophie’s home and begins to pursue her. The more time Kane and Sophie spend together, the more apparent it is that they are falling in love. Because of the curse, however, it seems as though this is a love story with no chance of a happy ending. Still, Sophie and Kane seem determined to find a way around it. Along the way, they also find themselves embroiled in a fight against the darker forces of the kingdom against which Kane has been rebelling.
If this plot description sounds a little vague, it is intended to be. While there is a good deal of action in the book, most of it is in the latter half of the story — and some of it revealed in the spoiler-laden back cover of the book. Jones opens her book simply, introducing Kane and Sophie and letting the reader enjoy a leisurely time of watching them get to know and become attracted to one another. Their courtship is interesting for the most part, and, as the story becomes more action-packed, Jones does an excellent job of moving the story along smoothly.
When I started reading and realized that this story involved two people who had sex without even knowing each other (and under rather odd circumstances at that), I have to admit that I was somewhat skeptical. However, the novel turned out to be an entertaining one. While Sophie can be a tad immature and simplistic on occasion, the secondary characters and the action of the plot overcome this weakness. This is most assuredly a story to read more for plot than for characterization since its focus is on the action and world-building. More time devoted to characterization would have been nice, but the action in this tale still drew me in and held my attention.
The “rather odd circumstances” of Sophie and Kane’s first love scene feature a badly wounded Kane, which begs both romantic and logistical questions. However, the story definitely improved as it went along, and, ultimately, I was glad I read it. I do wish, however, that the book did not end so abruptly. It is obvious that this book is part of a series and a number of matters set up in this book remain to be resolved in the sequel. Readers who like for their books to stand alone may not care for this one, but if you like series, this one has a promising start.