Book review | Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles Book 1) by Rebecca Kightlinger


Author: Rebecca Kightlinger

Genre: Historical fantasy

No. of pages: 283

Published by: Rowan Moon

Published on: 1st July 2017

Format: Paperback

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

In thirteenth century Cornwall, young Megge has just come of age to be apprenticed to her mother, the healer of Bury Down. But first, she must accept and vow to protect The Book of Seasons, an ancient tome that holds life-sustaining power harnessed centuries earlier by Murga, the first seer of Bury Down.

At her vowtaking ceremony, yearning to accept her inheritance and take her place among her family's long line of healers and seers, Megge reaches for the book. When she touches it, she feels something writhe within it and becomes convinced that the book is cursed and that she too will be cursed if she accepts it. 

Despite her mother's pleas to protect the book from the one who would usurp its power, Megge refuses to even look at it. But when a Blackfriar abbot arrives in the village claiming to be under orders to root out heretics and imprisons the healer for failing to turn over her "demon's book," will Megge finally be persuaded to take that vow?

Megge of Bury Down is the first book in the historical fantasy series - The Bury Down Chronicles. The book is about Margaret, or Megge, born to a family of magical healers and seers in the 13th century. Her family possess the magical books - The Book of Time and The Book of Seasons. These books have inscriptions of magical spells that exist on earth. These spells were drawn by Murga - the first seer to ever exist!

But there's a curse that haunts Murga's bloodline. And the curse has trickled down to Megge and her cousin Brighida. On her sixth birthday, when Megge is supposed to officially become the Heir to The Book of Seasons, she feels the wrath of the curse. Afraid of its power, Megge refuses to acknowledge the book.

Unfortunately, a few years later, Megge comes to learn the truth about the curse when her mother and aunt and cousin have been accused of being heretics and blasphemy. To save her family, Megge has to embrace the dark secrets of her family and embark on a journey to endure the curse or break it forever.

What I really liked about this book is that it's based in our world. It may be based in the 13th century, but it mixes magic with a bit of English history. I liked the characters, especially Megge, who is truthful and honest to her feelings. She acknowledges that she's scared of the book's power and stays away from it, unlike most fantasy books where the female protagonist is  unafraid. 

In Megge of Bury Down, the author gives us a story that reminds me of old, rusty libraries. It has an old charm to it. I loved the other characters as well. Especially, Mother, the unnamed mother of Megge. At first, she's portrayed as an aloof mother figure to Megge, but later, as the story unfolds we readers will get to see the motives of Mother and the mystery behind the name. The book is filled with such familial secrets and history that reading the book made me fascinated. It almost reminded me of the classic - 'Practical Magic.' 

Intrigued to start the second book in the series next.

In her twenty years of medical practice as an obstetrician gynecologist, Rebecca was privileged to care for the women of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Guyana. She now holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program and studies ancient medicine, medieval midwifery and surgery, and the manuscripts and arts of the mystical healer.

A fulltime writer of magical realist fiction set in medieval Cornwall, she studies the history of Cornwall and travels to Cornwall to carry out on-site research for each book of the series. She and her husband and their pets live in northwestern Pennsylvania.

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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