Title: A Curse of Ash & Embers
Author: Jo Spurrier
Series: Tales of the Blackbone Witches (Book 1)
Page Length: 272
Publication Date: Nov. 3, 2020
Synopsis: A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.
Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters. But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.
When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.
Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.
And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.
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A Curse of Ash and Embers, the first book in the Tales of the Blackbone Witches series, follows Elodie as she leaves home to work as a servant for people she doesn’t know. Weirdly, no one remembers when or how she was hired. Leaving the abusive and confined life with her family, Elodie journeys to Oak Cottage determined to make the best of a mysterious and confusing situation.
Elodie finds Oak Cottage in shambles, a victim of an epic battle between Gyssha and Aleida, the Blackbone witches. Aleida, the victor of the battle, is now cursed and full of regret for her past malicious actions. As Elodie and Aleida begin to repair the cottage, they must also address the malicious monsters that Gyssha left behind. Aleida also has to face the evil warlock who has come to collect. Will Elodie stay with Aleida and help her handle the supernatural upheaval, or will she return to the home and family that she so desperately misses?
When the story begins, Elodie is very unsure of herself. This isn’t surprising considering how terribly her step-father treated her and how sequestered she was from the outside world. As the eldest daughter, she was treated more as a servant than a child. Her parents didn’t allow her to go to school, go to town, or have friends. So, Oak Cottage is the first semblance of freedom she’s had in years.
As Elodie adjusts to her new, unusual, and supernatural surroundings, she becomes more self-assured and confident in her abilities. Much of this can be attributed to her growing friendship with Aleida, which is one of my favorite parts of the novel.
Aleida is smart and sarcastic and brave. Though most everyone sees Aleida as a villain, Elodie sees past her dastardly deeds. Conversely, Aleida sees Elodie as more than an uneducated servant. I think their friendship helps both of these women heal and grow, and, though they are very different, they complement each other well.
Elodie is a dynamically developed character whose experience is full of new friendships, unexpected surprises, and unique supernatural elements. Monsters, magical creatures and elements of nature, warlocks, witches, curses, spells, and more create a fascinating world for Elodie to explore. Unfortunately, it also comes with danger around every corner, and Elodie and Aleida usually find it.
This is a unique coming-of-age novel with excellent supernatural elements and a strong female friendship. I enjoyed Elodie’s story and look forward to many more of her and Aleida’s adventures. Thanks so much to Netgalley and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The cool supernatural elements.
- The messages about the power of friendship.
- The dynamically developed protagonist.
This is a great book for readers who like coming-of-age stories with a dynamic protagonist, supernatural settings, and witches!