Thank you to Welbeck Children’s for allowing me to be part of this blog tour.
Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna
Published By: Welbeck Children’s
Released: 14th April 2022
Rating: 4 ★
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
It has been seven years since Cassie Morgan last saw her mother. Left at a dreary boarding school, she spends her days hiding from the school bully and reading forbidden story books about the world of Faerie.
Certain that her mother is still alive, Cassie is determined to find her, whatever the dangers, and runs away from school. Lost and alone, she is chased by a pack of goblins but, to her surprise, escapes with the help of a flying broom and a talking cat named Montague, who takes her to the cosy village of Hedgely.
Here she discovers that she comes from a family of witches, women who protect Britain from the denizens of Faerie, who are all too real and far more frightening than her story books suggest.
I’m a big fan of middle grade fantasy, and am always looking for the next magical, fantastical book to stick my teeth into. Hedgewitch was a book that I was unaware of until a gorgeous proof copy dropped through my letterbox. From the synopsis, I knew I was going to adore this middle grade fantasy about witches and fae, and well my assumptions were correct.
After last seeing her mother seven years ago, Cassie Morgan has been living at a tedious boarding school where she spends her days hiding from bullies and reading books about the land of faerie. One day after being told her mother is dead, Cassie determined to prove that she is still alive runs away. Alone, she is soon hunted by a pack of goblins but escapes with the help of a talking cat and a broomstick. She is taken to the village of Hedgely, where she discovers that she comes from a family of witches who protect the country from the land of Faerie, and it is up to Cassie to join them and shelter Hedgely and the rest of the country from these ongoing threats..
From the moment I started reading Hedgewitch, I knew it was going to be something special. From the very first chapter, you are thrust into action, as Cassie tries desperately to escape her life at the dreary, troublesome boarding school. You are instantly rooting for her, and as the story progresses you just want her to achieve her goal and find out who she is. Mysterious elements are placed throughout the story and you are instantly hooked and want to know the answer to them all. When these answers are revealed, I for one, was incredibly shocked and did not see them coming. This makes Hedgewitch so appealing to not only youngsters but adults alike..
The setting of Hedgely was gorgeous, and the way it was described was spellbinding. There were times throughout the book when I was wishing it was real, as I would love to visit this extraordinary place. McKenna writes in such a stunning way, that it almost seems lyrical at times, and this was one of the reasons why Hedgely sounded like such a beautiful, other-worldly place to live. I commend her for this, as it can be hard to map out magical worlds, but she got it spot on. I also want to mention the introduction of the 1st Hedgely Coven, which I badly wanted to be a member of. It reminded me a lot of my days as a Rainbow and Brownie (minus the magic), and I loved this nostalgic trip. To be a member of this coven sounded like such an honour, and I so badly wanted it to be real.
Each character within Hedgewitch had their unique personality and I took to most of them almost instantly. Cassie was such an incredible protagonist, and as stated I was rooting for her straight away. Her determination and bravery was inspiring, and I just know she will be loved by children everywhere. I also loved Montague the cat. He was just a character unto his own, and I automatically fell for his charm and wit. Every middle grade fantasy needs a talking animal companion like Montague, and I am excited to see him in future instalments.
Hedgewitch was a gorgeous read pack full of magic, mystery, adventure and friendship. It was a delight to read, and one of the best middle grade fantasies I have read in a long while. To say I’m shocked that is a debut would be an understatement. Skye McKenna has certainly implanted herself into this genre, and I am excited for book two – Woodwitch, which is out next year.
About the Author
Skye McKenna grew up in the iron ore mining town of Newman in the Australian outback. Surrounded by the red dust of the Great Sandy Desert, she developed a healthy respect for wild things and wild places at a young age. Longing for adventures of her own, she travelled to England and fell in love with the British countryside. Skye now works in heritage and recently curated the Magic & Mystery exhibition for Barley Hall, York, introducing visitors to real and legendary wizards and alchemists and developing activities for school children and families visiting the exhibition.