“Winterwood” by Jacey Bedford

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Winterwood” by Jacey BedfordWinterwood (Rowankind, #1) by Jacey Bedford
Series: Rowankind #1
Published: February 2nd 2016 by DAW
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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Winterwood by Jacey Bedford is the first book in the Rowankind series. It features a strong female protagonist, angry fae, and pirates, which are an excellent combination.

Although it’s the first book in the Rowankind series, Winterwood is self-contained and forms a complete story arc. Book 2, Silverwolf, is scheduled for release in January.

Rossalinde (or Ross) Tremayne is a privateer captain. Her husband was Captain Redbeard, and when he died, she started cross-dressing and took up his role on the high seas. She’s having a hard time letting go though, as evidenced by the fact that she’s constantly followed by his ghost.

One day Ross gets called to her mother’s deathbed, and she’s given a winterwood box. The box is magical, and is the key to righting a sin committed by her family several generations ago. It’s also the key to understanding the Rowankind, a race enslaved by the aristocracy on the British Isles. Ross initially tries to run away from the task, in part because she’s got some serious Mommy issues. You see, in this alternate version of history, magic exists but is highly regulated by the Crown. And when Ross discovered that she had magic, her mother became cold and hostile, pushing her away. Ross still hasn’t forgiven her, and has built her own happy life on the high seas.

Then Ross discovers that she has a half brother, her other brother is still alive, and there’s some seriously weird shit going on in her family tree. Oh, and she’s also being followed and hunted by members of a Secret Service type of organization, who are hell-bent to kill her and retrieve the Winterwood box. And this is where the book gets political and philosophical, because the Winterwood box holds the secret as to why the Rowankind are enslaved, and using the box will change the face of England. It’s both the right thing to do, and equally terrifying to Ross, because she has no idea how the Rowankind will react and is afraid of triggering a bloodbath.

Winterwood also has a romantic aspect. In her journey, Ross meets Corwin, a mysterious silver-haired gentleman who awakens long-buried feelings. And in order to pursue a relationship with Corwin, Ross needs to learn how to let go of her husband’s ghost and move on, which is easier said than done.

Winterwood was an excellent vacation read. It’s not a particularly serious book, and has a lot of fun fantasy elements, including magic, ghosts, werewolves, hellish creatures, and of course the fae.

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