The Witchwood Knot by Olivia Atwater
Updated: 6 days ago
A bit about the book...
The faeries of Witchwood Manor have stolen its young lord. His governess intends to steal him back.
Victorian governess Winifred Hall knows a con when she sees one. When her bratty young charge transforms overnight into a perfectly-behaved block of wood, she soon realises that the real boy has been abducted by the Fair Folk. Unfortunately, the lord of Witchwood Manor is the only man in England who doesn’t believe in faeries—which leaves Winnie in the unenviable position of rescuing the young lord all by herself.
Witchwood Manor is bigger than its inhabitants realise, however, and full of otherworldly dangers. As Winnie delves deeper into the other side of the house, she enlists the aid of its dark and dubious faerie butler, Mr Quincy, who hides several awful secrets behind his charming smile. Winnie hopes to make her way to the centre of the Witchwood Knot through wit and cleverness… but when all of her usual tricks fail, who will she dare to trust?
Olivia Atwater returns with a dark, whimsical faerie tale set in a magical version of Victorian England. Dive into The Witchwood Knot and enjoy a gothic fantasy romance set in the world of Half a Soul.
The Witchwood Knot is a beautiful and dark gothic fantasy with delightfully rich world-building. Set in Victorian England where faeries are feared for their cruelty, Winnifred Hall sets out on a journey to an eerie potentially haunted manor in the middle of an ancient mystical forest. Winnie is a determined and resourceful young magician summoned to Witchwood Manor by an old acquaintance with the goal of protecting her grandson from the nefarious faeries who mean him harm. Upon her arrival at the ominous-looking manor, she meets the butler, Mr Quincy, a curious fellow who appears and disappears in a most suspicious fashion just in time to cause mischief. Winnie’s work is made all the more challenging in that her charge, the Honourable Robert Murray the Third, is hell-bent on disobeying her at every turn and putting himself in further danger, not to mention his father, the lord of the manor, has taken a very overbearing and unwelcome interest in her.
Throughout his tutoring, Winnie tells Robert faerie stories, which are a delightfully clever way to give the reader more insight into the world, Winnie’s history, and the current problems plaguing her world. As Winnie begins to unravel the mysteries at the heart of Witchwood Manor, she begins to wonder which monsters she should be more worried about.
There are plenty of references to Atwater’s Regency series that I have possibly missed, this being my first book by her, but the story is set within the same magical England, sometime after the events of Half a Soul. We get mentions of Lord Sorcier Elias Wilder, Magician to the Crown of England, as well as some of his friends, who appear to be background players in the overall plot of this story.
I appreciate that Atwater has included a content warning, showing a dedication and duty of care to her readers' mental health. Most scenes including Lord Longfell thoroughly made my skin crawl. He was written in such a way as to have absolutely no redeemable qualities and I believe Atwater captured the intense uneasiness many women face at least once in their life under the male gaze, without ever reducing Winnie’s character. Despite her experiences, Winnies retains her autonomy and fights back.
Atwater’s newest novel is a dark and ethereal gothic fantasy with a hint of romance, a strong female lead and a richly crafted world that you will not want to pull yourself away from. You will be eagerly awaiting the next installment with bated breath!
Thank you to Netgalley and Starwatch Press for providing this ARC. I am now fully invested in Atwater's work and she has now become an auto-buy author for me!
The Witchwood Knot releases on 28th November 2023