The Winter Witch Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Winter Witch

Morgana is a witch and at eighteen, her mother marries her off to Cai Jenkins who is in need of a wife...but didn't know Morgana was a witch. Morgana and Cai fall in love and she must learn how to harness her power if she wants to protect the man and the life she has grown to love. Morgana is a witch who has been tolerated by her community for the past eighteen years. Her life suddenly changes when her mother decrees that she must get married because she can no longer guarantee her daughter's safety. Morgana, used to living a wild and free life away from people, reluctantly agrees to a marriage to Cai Jenkins, a drover from a neighboring village. Cai agrees to the marriage simply because to be the head drover, he is required by law to have a wife. Knowing he could never love a woman the way he loved his first wife, he marries Morgana despite her wild ways and the fact that she has never spoken and strange things happen to people who displease her.
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Once married, Morgana accompanies Cai back to his ranch, a place called Ffynnon Las in Whales. There, she has a difficult time settling in. Having grown up with her magic, and lack of interest in homemaking, she has no skills as a proper wife. Luckily, she quickly becomes friends with Cai's housekeeper, Mrs. Jones, and his two corgis, Meg and Bracken.

Morgana and Cai's relationship remains rocky; when Cai has guests over, Morgana is rude. When they go to church, Morgana makes a scene by being violently ill outside the chapel. As a witch, Morgana has always had certain abilities, including sensing evil. Unfortunately, her reaction to the church enhances her strangeness, making it difficult for her to blend in with her new community and making an enemy out of the Reverend. Since she cannot explain her actions, Cai is reluctant to get to know her.

On false pretenses, the Reverend visits Morgana, and runs over the corgi, Meg. This is the beginning of many deaths that will surround Morgana, bringing her under suspicion from the village for sorcery.

As time passes, Cai realizes his wife is a child of nature, and invites her to help him with his cattle. Disaster strikes, killing half his heard and he must accept a loan from a widow named Isolda Bowen. Morgana was once again present for the mass death of cattle, making her seem like a curse. Cai, however, wants to try to make his relationship with Morgana work.

Morgana is suspicious of Isolda, who soon reveals herself to also be a witch. Unlike Morgana, she uses her powers for evil and for gain. Her current goal is to kill Morgana and Cai and inherit his property--as payment for the loan--because she wants a well that is on Fflnnon Las. This well is said to have magical properties and can be a powerful tool for good or ill. Morgana knows she is not strong enough to take Isolda on, but help comes from Mrs. Jenkins, who is a keeper of the Grimoire, a book that will teach Morgana how to use her powers.

Cai invites Morgana to go on a drove with him. During this time, they finally have grown to love and trust each other enough to consummate their marriage. Sadly, that is the only positive thing to happen. On this journey north to London, Isolda's spirit causes mischief, which kills a man, and puts Morgana under suspicion. Morgana also learns that her mother has died, after being sick since even before her marriage.

Morgana resolves to destroy Isolda once and for all using her power. But Isolda convinces the village that Morgana is the reason behind a sickness that has been killing their small population. Cai is prepared to defend Morgana from the villagers, but a curse was put on him, which slowly begins to kill him. Mrs. Jenkins tries to safe him, but dies in the effort, leaving Morgana all alone to face Isolda.

Using cunning and strength she didn't know she had, Isolda and Morgana face off with an impressive display of witchcraft. Morgana ultimately wins, and sends Isolda's soul to hell. The rest of the curses Isolda put on people (including the Reverend and the sickness) disappear and the village discovers that Isolda was the witch all along.

Morgana and Cai's reputations are restored. Cai says he loves her and asks if she's aware of that fact, and Morgana finally speaks, ending the story with an enthusiastic "Yes!"
Best part of story, including ending: I really liked how Brackston used both first and third person. When the story was told from the point of view of Morgana, Brackston used first person, which is a wise decision since Morgana only speaks one word at the every end. But, because the story gets complex, she uses third person, especially when telling things from Cai's perspective. I think she did a good job with both perspectives, but some readers might find it "messy" or hard to follow at first.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene is when Morgana faces Isolda in her own home. Morgana is FINALLY on the offensive, and between summoning rats, turning into giant snakes, telekinesis, and out-of-body experiences, their battle with witchcraft is thoroughly entertaining.

Opinion about the main character: What I didn't like about Morgana was she never explained why she didn't speak. There was no story or reason for her silence. During the story, you learn her father is missing, but that plotline is never followed or mentioned by Morgana. You only vaguely get the sense that her father is responsible for her silence. She also only gives vague reasons for why and how she is able to speak at the end. I hoped that in first person, she would be able to talk about her silence more for the audience.

The review of this Book prepared by Christina Thompson a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Winter Witch

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy story on current Earth Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Horror story?    -   Yes Horror plotlets    -   the witch chased me on her broomstick!

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   can cast many different spells


Terrain    -   Mountains Earth setting:    -   19th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   descript of touching personal anatomy How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Paula Brackston Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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