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Hi! My name is Kendall, I'm 23, a university student and I'm from Scotland. I'm a Reader, Reviewer, Blogger and occasional YouTuber. Yep, that about sums it up :)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

UK Blog Tour: The Silver Witch [Shadow Chronicles 03] by Paula Brackston!




   Today she enjoys the stimulation of the proximity of danger. Of fear managed. She runs on, and has gone only a little farther when she becomes aware of voices. Though muffled by the mist, they are clearly raised, angry voices. Slowing her pace she peers into the gloom. She has never encountered anyone on her early morning circuits of the lake. The voices are coming from the field to her left. She can discern two men, both cursing, but not, she thinks, at each other. A sudden yelp reveals the target of their rage. Tilda reaches the patchy hedge and clambers more through than over it in time to see the taller of the youths land a second hefty kick on the skinny grey dog with scruffy hair that cowers on the ground in front of him.
   ‘Oy!’ she shouts before she has time to think of the wisdom of confronting two angry strangers when she is alone. ‘Stop that! Leave the poor thing alone.’
   The men look up and see Tilda as she emerges from the mist. Her appearance startles them, and for a brief moment they stare, but are quickly over their surprise.
   ‘What’s it got to do with you?’ the shorter one growls.
   As she gets closer to the dog, Tilda can see a trickle of blood coming from its mouth. It is shaking with fear but unable to run away, as one of the men has hold of a chain that is fastened around the dog’s neck.
   ‘Why are you hurting her? What has she done that is so terrible?’
   ‘She’s useless,’ the dog’s tormenter tells Tilda. ‘She won’t do her job.’
   ‘Her job?’
   The men exchange glances and Tilda realizes whatever activity they are engaged in is probably without the landowner’s permission.
   ‘Were you after foxes?’ she asks, though she knows this can’t be right.
   ‘Huh!’ the shorter man sneers, ‘this thing couldn’t catch a cold, never mind a fox.’
   ‘She’s a lurcher,’ the other youth points out, as if this explains anything. When Tilda remains blank he goes on. ‘She’s supposed to catch hares.’
   ‘Hares. But . . . why?’
   At this both men lose their patience. ‘Look,’ says the nearest one, ‘it’s none of your business, okay? You don’t know about dogs.’
   ‘I know you don’t teach them anything by kicking their teeth out,’ she says, putting her hands on her hips.
   The taller man yanks on the dog’s chain, forcing it to stagger to its unsteady feet. ‘Come on,’ he says to his companion, ‘let’s go. Stupid bitch!’ he spits, and Tilda can’t be sure if he is addressing the dog or her. The poor animal glances back as it is dragged away. It is still bleeding from the kick to its mouth, and also has a pronounced limp. The sight of its suffering is too much for Tilda.
   ‘Wait!’ she calls after them. ‘If you don’t want the dog, I’ll have it.’
   The men pause and turn. ‘What do you want with it? Why should we give it to you?’
   ‘You’ve just said it’s useless at . . . hunting. Must cost a lot, feeding a dog like that. I’ll take it off your hands.’
   ‘Oh yeah? How much?’
   ‘How much are you gonna give us for her? She’s from a good line. They cost money, you know, working lurchers.’
   ‘Even useless ones?’
   Both men scowl and begin to walk off. Tilda trots after them and catches up with the tall one holding the lead. She instinctively puts her hand on his arm.
   ‘Look, I haven’t got any money on me. But I’ll give her a good home. Save you the cost of the dog food. And the vet’s bills.’
   The youth looks down at her hand and sees her watch.
   ‘I’ll take that for her,’ he says.
   ‘My watch? Oh, but it’s . . .’ She is going to say broken but then notices the hands are moving; it is working again. ‘. . . It was a present from my husband.’
   The man shrugs. ‘Do you want the dog or don’t you?’
   She hesitates for only a moment, thinking of Mat and how pleased he had been when he found the watch for her, and then knowing what he would want her to do. Slipping the watch from her wrist, she hands it over and takes the chain before the man can change his mind. She whistles softly at the dog to encourage it to go with her and is relieved when it limps along beside her quite willingly. She is aware of the men watching her as she struggles to help the dog over a low bit of hedge and back onto the path, and finds she is only breathing steadily again once she hears them stomping off across the field in the opposite direction.
   It takes an age to reach the house, as the dog is lame, sore, and undernourished.
Tilda’s running clothes are unequal to the chilliness of the morning without the warmth exertion would produce, so that by the time they arrive at the cottage both she and her new house mate are shivering. It follows her inside meekly. Only now does she realize she did not ask for the dog’s name. There is no tag on its chain collar, which has started to rub, so she takes it off.
   ‘What am I going to call you, pooch? You are a weedy thing.
   All skinny and grey and tufty. I know; Thistle! Yes. That’ll suit you. Now, what would you like to eat, eh, Thistle? What do lurcher dogs eat, I wonder?’
It feels strange, the sound of her own voice in the house she has only ever been alone in. Strange, but nice. She fetches a saucer of milk and the dog gives her a look that clearly says I’m not a cat, but drinks it all the same. Tilda empties a tin of tuna into a cereal bowl. It is wolfed down in seconds. The sight of the dog licking hungrily at the empty dish reminds her that she will have to buy more supplies soon. Without a car, this is not a simple task.

From Paula Brackston, the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch, comes an enchanting tale of love and ancient magic set in the glorious Welsh landscape, past and present.

'My mind is like the willow; it flexes and springs. My heart is a knot of oak. Let them try to wound me. Let them try.'

One year after artist Tilda Forwells loses her husband, she is finally ready to move into the secluded Welsh cottage they were meant to be sharing together.

In the valley below her mountain home is a mystical lake which inspires a strange energy in her. She starts to experience potent dreams, visions, presentiments which all lead her to Seren, the witch and shaman who legend has it lived on this lakeshore in Celtic times.

As Tilda explores the lake's powers and her own, her connection to Seren grows stronger. And when she comes under grave threat, she must rely on Seren and this ancient magic to save her.

Check it out on Goodreads!

 (Please click on the Tour Schedule to enlarge it!)
Author bio:
Paula Brackston is the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter, The Winter Witch and The Midnight Witch. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and is a visiting lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. She lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales and much of the inspiration for her writing comes from stomping about on the mountains being serenaded by skylarks and buzzards. In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Crème de la Crime search for new writers, her book Nutters (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award, and she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme.

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