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Review: The Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton (Witch Finder #1)

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The Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton // VBC ReviewThe Witch Finder (Witch Finder #1)
Ruth Warburton
Published: Jan. 2, 2014 (Hodder Children’s Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Mary

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

The Witch Finder opens in 19th century London as Luke is being initiated into the Malleus Brotherhood, a group of men sworn to rid the world of witches and their evil. As a child Luke saw his parents murdered by a witch, and has no love for their kind. He has patiently waited to come of age and join the brotherhood in hopes of avenging his family.

Everything seems to be going well and he is proving himself and his devotion to the other brothers, until the final test. He must pick a name from a book of witches and kill that witch within a month. He had always imagined killing the witch that killed his family, aged crones that sell spells and other evil creatures. When he draws the name of sixteen-year-old Rosa, he never thinks he will have trouble completing the task. She is a witch, after all.

Luke, determined to prove himself, finds a job in her family’s household and starts putting a plan into motion to complete his task. Of course, once he meets Rosa, he starts to realize that all witches may not be the same. This puts Luke in an extremely dangerous situation, because if he fails the Malleus initiation, if he fails to kill Rosa, the brotherhood will kill him.

The author does a great job of marrying the time period and the genre. By the end I really could see how this whole subset of people could live undetected among the larger population. The details in this book were wonderful and the pace was quick. I found myself skimming pages just to find out what happens, and then going back and rereading to fill in the details.

The Witch Finder combines all of my favorite elements: period fiction, romance, witchcraft, and forbidden love. I read The Witch Finder in one sitting and then started it over again. The characters were engaging and sincere and your heart really breaks for both of them. Luke and Rosa are both struggling with the pressures put on them by their families. Luke has to choose between his obligation to the Malleus and the dictates of his own conscience, while Rosa struggles with her need to protect her family and her desire to follow her own heart.

Will it be obligation or free will, safety or love, which wins out?  Read and find out!

Sexual content: Kissing

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