Twitter has gone and done it again. Not only have I been blessed with a free copy to review (given by the author herself) but I feel I've made another awesome writing connection. My dear friend, and American bestie, Ashley wrote about Alys' book on facebook and after reading the blurb I just knew I needed to get my hands on this beauty, now that I have I know I made the right choice.
Finn McCloud is a druid, connected by magic to the earth. He’s made a big mistake; one he expects to pay for with his life. Maeve Blackwell has plans for a new start, free of the façade she so carefully maintains. At Beltane, the Celtic festival of fire on 1st May, all her preparations will come to fruition.
Struggling artist, Zoe Rose is in Glastonbury to work on the illustrations for a book about King Arthur. But when she arrives at Anam Cara, the healing retreat run by Maeve, it’s not the haven she hoped for. Maeve isn’t the warm-hearted, hippy she expected and Zoe can’t help feeling there’s something very odd about the place. Is it coincidence that the other guests become ill after Maeve’s given them healing? And why did the Green Man carved on a tree in the garden, which she’d felt inexplicably drawn to, mysteriously vanish during a thunderstorm?
As if that wasn’t enough, the weird dreams she’d had all her life are getting worse. Every night she dreams of a handsome stranger. Then, the day after the thunderstorm, she meets Finn. Realising he’s the man she’s dreamt of (not that she’s going to tell him that!) she’s forced to accept that her dreams are premonitions.
With Beltane fast approaching Finn knows that Maeve must be stopped. He’s torn between wanting to protect Zoe from the supernatural world and his desire to be with her. And the more time they spend together the harder it is to keep secrets from her. When Zoe’s dreams reveal that at Beltane both their lives will be in terrible danger, it’s clear that only by trusting each other can they have any hope of defeating Maeve.
This book was truly gripping. It grabs you from the first page because it leaves you wondering what happens to the people in the first scene, something I love and hate about books. As a writer I know that I have to do this to keep the reader engaged and wanting to know more and Alys does that from the first word.
Then we meet Zoe, and she's brilliant. Her friend suggests she visit Glastonbury for some inspiration and a break to help with her new illustration job. A recommendation to Anam Cara gets her started on a journey she wasn't planning on. Zoe also doesn't know about her ability to begin with and it makes her so innocent when weird things start to happen.
Then there is Finn, at first I had no idea who he was, then as the story went on it came more to light. The way magic is intertwined in this story makes Finn and Zoe's connection even more intriguing.
I loved everything about this book, the story, the characters, but what really made it was such a diverse villain. Meave was a stunning character and I think everyone will love to hate her.
Photos (c) Canva, Goodreads
Blurb (c) Goodreads
You can find out more about Alys West here:
You can also check out her Beltane and steampunk boards on Pinterest at Alys West Writes