To kill a Beast, he must first unravel the mystery of a strange and savage Beauty.
Many years have passed since a merciless dragon known only as the Beast blazed a path of destruction across a once peaceful land, and although he now sleeps beneath the earth, his wicked influence continues to spread, corrupting everything and everyone it touches.
In a neighbouring kingdom, a naïve young knight named Eoin hopes to finally break the dragon’s curse, as well as win the respect of his family and the heart of his Queen. He’s always been taught that morality is as absolute as authority, but after crossing paths with a beautiful yet notorious witch, Eoin discovers that the line between good and evil isn’t as clear-cut as he was led to believe.
Though tempers flare, their attraction to one another cannot be denied, and when Eoin is ambushed by a horde of monsters with eerily human eyes, it is the witch who rescues him from the brink of death. What does she want from him? Is she friend or foe? While recovering under her care, Eoin begins to suspect that the witch is also the keeper of a truly horrifying secret, one that could throw the entire world into chaos. And meanwhile, the Beast is waiting.
ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads
“If you ever think of me once I’m gone, I pray you will also remember this lesson. Strength means nothing if not used to protect those you love.”
For the Love of a Witch is a dark and whimsical cautionary fairytale shining light on the shadows of the dangers of pride and the horrid realities of abuse. Author Sarah-Jane Lehoux delivers her readers to a sinister, haunted wood blanketed by an everlasting gloom, littered with bones, spirits, and horrors of the night, in search of a beast who poisons the land with its hatred. What begins as a quest to save the kingdom blooms into a legend of a sincere love found in the most unexpected of places, and a journey of finding one’s true purpose. With dazzling characterization and subtle, yet immersive worldbuilding, For the Love of a Witch is a riveting, immersive read perfect for the season.
This tale is led by a cast of tragically flawed and broken characters, each exquisite in their own way. A proud, dutiful knight pining for the affections of a queen. A beautiful and dangerous witch living deep within the woods, hiding dangerous secrets and enduring unimaginable pain. A merciless dragon thriving on the misery of all, blinded by his own ambitions. Each has conformed to what’s expected of them, transforming them into their own breed of monster, and each suffers greatly because of it. In order for them break free of the bonds that confine them, they must seek their own path to a brighter future. Their anguish is palpable. The consequences they endure are grievous. Their desires are their downfall.
At its core, this story is one of love. True, pure love between two battered souls. A forbidden love that withstands the deadly trials of fate. The moment Eoin and Cinnia encounter each other, they immediately reinforce their hardened shells, although one is enchanted by the allure and the other enchanted by charm. However, once the pains of the past come to light around a smoldering cook fire, their aversion slowly melts away. She helps him shed the misogynistic ideals ingrained into his mind to find his humanity. He helps her find beauty in the world and discover her self-worth. Together they battle the darkness that lies in the forest and the depths of their hearts. It’s a beautiful love to behold.
…the splendor of the purest magic.
Lehoux presents a beautifully portrayed story with a whimsy, flowing prose reminiscent of fairytales of old. There’s comfort to be found within these pages, even though dreadful topics are addressed. Superbly paced with a fine balance of action where lives hang in the balance, and silent, tender moments, this book was far too difficult to put down. She crafts a mysterious and captivating environment around us as we make our way through the chapters, each nook and cranny veiling new pieces of the grand puzzle waiting to be unearthed. And of my favorite aspects, a tone of melancholic desperation is gradually eclipsed by a rally of hope. This book has everything you’d hope for when cracking open the spine of a dark fairytale.
For the Love of a Witch was a book that immediately caught my eye with it’s bold cover and blurb heavy with Beauty and the Beast flavors, and I’m beyond thrilled I’ve gotten the chance to give it an early read. Within only 128 pages, Lehoux manages to create a concise and stunning depiction of a love that’s rooted deep beneath the surface, its tendrils reaching far into the heart. It closes nicely, not leaving room for any continuation, but it’s a wonderful and touching ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this novella, and definitely recommend it to those craving a familiar fairytale with an ominous twist.
Note: A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a complementary copy of this book via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.
CW: Rape, Captivity
Sarah-Jane Lehoux was a shy yet outspoken child whose irrepressible imagination often put her at odds with the world. She was never satisfied with the status quo, and now, as a writer of feminist speculative fiction, she isn’t afraid to take chances or to tackle subjects that others may avoid. Because of this, her stories have been praised for their gritty realism and psychological insights, as well as their vivid imagery and originality.
Sarah-Jane has a BA in Anthropology from Laurentian University and a diploma in Animal Care from Sheridan College. She was a bit of a nomad in her youth, moving from one Canadian city to the next, before realising she needed a slower pace of life to truly be happy. She resides in Northern Ontario with her husband, her cats, and her books and spends her time cluttering her brain with beautiful nonsense.