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A Spell of Rowans

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Member Reviews

This was a gothic, atmospheric paranormal mystery and I really enjoyed it. It was well written, with good characters that were well developed and a good storyline. I was gripped and couldnt put ti down. I really enjoyed it.
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Rachel Rowan had a knack for discovering other people’s secrets. When she felt snubbed by her small community, she used that ability to blackmail the residents of the town. She used her three children’s gifts for her own ends but was cruel to them, even abused them. Philippa can charm others; Victoria is an empath who can sense feelings; Liam can learn about an object’s history or any emotions associated with it by touching it.

When Rachel dies, her now-grown children have to figure out how to deal with the fallout of years of their mother’s wicked deeds — which include facing a lot of angry town residents and even solving a murder. In addition to trying to stay safe themselves in the face of danger, the three must start to come to terms with the emotional damage their mother inflicted on them.

Victoria fled Grimsby to escape her mother’s grip and attend college. She’s built a good career in the big city as an art restorer, but she’s not truly happy. And she still feels guilty about leaving her siblings behind, especially her younger brother, whom their mother used until the very end. But Vic has to return after her mother’s death — and then stick around for a while, because Liam gets arrested for the murder of her mother’s business assistant. She is determined that he be set free and that the real culprit be found. She finds herself working with the high school boyfriend she also left behind, who’s now an FBI agent and back in town for a short time too. Despite her desire to keep up all her barriers, she finds herself slowly letting them down.

It may just be possible for the Rowan siblings to bring some healing to their town and find some themselves after the damage Rachel Rowan did to them all. But it won’t be easy, and it certainly will be dangerous.

A Spell of Rowans is an interesting mystery given a twist with touches of magic, but it’s more a compelling story of family, of three adults who were abused while growing up but who find their way back to each other and to overcoming what they went through. I enjoyed it.
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Great book! I really enjoyed this paranormal murder mystery and will be looking for other books by this author. The pace was perfect, the romance not overblown, and the murder mystery very well set up. I read the book overnight because once started could not put it down.
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I really liked this book. Victoria and her siblings have always been different because of their special magical gifts. After surviving an abusive mother (who is a witch) and a mostly indifferent father, Vic returns to her hometown after the death of her mother. Being a small town, everyone knows everyone’s past. Since Vic left town, her mother’s evilness has permeated the town and the Rowan’s are not too popular. Vic’s mother has been blackmailing townspeople and may have been murdered along with her assistant. Vic’s old high school flame, Reed, is also in town, he’s an FBI agent on another case but has vowed to help her. Meanwhile, the town chief of police has it in for the Rowan’s and is trying to pin the murders on Vic’s brother. Someone has been vandalizing her mothers house, where Vic is staying. Vic is in danger and Vic and Reed must find the real killer before anyone else is hurt. Meanwhile Vic, Phillipa and Liam try to right the wrongs of their evil mother. This was a very well written story involving magic and a well developed mystery. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, if there is one. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
I really enjoyed this book. I would say it’s more magical realism than fantasy. I enjoyed the dynamics between the three siblings. I also thought the way the author had the siblings deal with their childhood trauma in different ways felt honest. 
The novel is also a bit of a who done it that I did not figure out before the reveal.  
Trigger warnings: child abuse, suicide, and attempted sexual assault
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A wonderfully weird contemporary murder mystery with a touch of magic, and I was on edge for all of it! It took a couple of chapters before I got used to the writing style. Once I did, I couldn’t put this down and pretty much read it in one sitting. The story follows Victoria Rowan from the time that her mother dies until they solve the mystery of her death. Vic left home 15 years ago with the excuse to attend college and must come back to help her siblings – Phillipa & Liam – wrap up the loose ends that their mother left behind.

While Vic is back, she’s haunted by her memories and her brother Liam gets accused of another murder. The writing style kept the characters interesting and relatable even though there’s not a lot of immersion with the depth of the character’s own emotions. This is the only thing that was off to me and I’m surprisingly not mad about it. Vic is an empath who can pull and transfer other’s emotions, but the way the book is written, everything felt like a 3rd party POV, so I was kept interested but not so much so that their feelings were mine – if that makes sense. Romantic relationships are there for each sibling but it’s not the main focus of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed all the suspense and thought the pacing was perfect. As I read, I was uncovering each truth at the same time that Vic was. And as an artist myself, the way Vic’s profession was woven into the story was well done. We use a lot of emotions in our work, and I felt that the descriptions of re-making the brushes and her studio were realistic. I was so prepared for the healing and that they’re all able to realize that they deserve happiness. I’m marking this one as a favorite.

This book comes with a few trigger warnings: murder, suicide, child abuse, and a sexual assault scene. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Rook & Castle Press for a digital copy in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. #ASpellofRowans #NetGalley
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This narrative is told in first person viewpoint by Vic, the middle of the three siblings. And as for their mother, she has to be one of the nastiest villains I’ve encountered for a while. It’s heinous enough when baddies do horrible things to relative strangers – but evil is taken to a whole new level when it’s perpetrated against their own children.

So be warned – there is physical and emotional child abuse in this story, which could have turned this one into a really dark story. But despite all three siblings having been damaged by their mother’s treatment, and without in any way diminishing what happened to them – Nash manages to avoid this becoming overwhelmingly bleak. Indeed, there are moments of farce and humour as Pip, Vic and Liam try to untangle the trail of mayhem that follows their mother’s death. They are well equipped to discover who has done what to whom, given their specific talents.

But I also liked how these so-called gifts are also far more of a hindrance in modern life – particularly poor Vic, whose ability to read people’s feelings means that her love life in non-existent. Just imagine a first date, when you immediately know what your prospective partner is thinking… And Pip’s talent for charming men doesn’t necessarily mean that her choices are ideal, either. Nash’s smart, witty writing quickly turns this paranormal whodunit into something more memorably special than your usual urban fantasy. The characters are all layered and complex, the setting utterly convincing and the writing sufficiently edgy that I wasn’t convinced that the very appealing protagonists were going to prevail.

I read far long than I should have to discover what happens, as the plot twists kept coming, bodies started piling up and exactly what the Rowan’s horrible mother was actually up to gradually becomes clear. I also really enjoyed how Nash handled the denouement and wrapped up the story. All in all, I’m congratulating myself on having discovered yet another talented writer and highly recommend this one to fans of contemporary, paranormal crime. While I obtained an arc of A Spell of Rowans from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
9/10
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*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Byrd Nash’s books, but this one is definitely a new favorite! I didn’t really read a synopsis before starting this one, and just dove in. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it.

Some tragic events drove Victoria “Vic” Rowan from home about 15 years ago. She’s been living in the big city all these years as an art restorer, ignoring her past, and hiding her powers. With the death of her mother, she’s forced to return back to her hometown of Grimsby. Her sister Phillipa, the obedient daughter, had been caring for their sickly mother. Their brother Liam had been forced to stay in town.

Rachel Rowan, the mother of the three siblings was narcissistic and abusive, and used her children’s magical talents for her own needs. Rachel could sniff out secrets, and used her antiques shop, Rosemary Thyme to torture the residents in town. Upon her passing, her children face the fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic. They must confront the past in order to have any kind of future.

Vic is an empath and knows everyone’s hidden feelings; Phillipa has glamour that can bewitch; and Liam can touch objects and reveal their secrets. Liam is arrested, and Vic needs to discover the truth, to help her autistic brother. She also must confront the boy she dumped when she fled town, as he’s back in Grimsby and seems to know the truth about her.

I really enjoyed these characters and the small town setting. As grownups, they must come to grips with the abuse they faced as children, and also with their special abilities. They just want everything to be “normal” now that their mother is dead, but one mystery leads to another, and they find themselves in a conundrum. You may think that you have it all figured out, but there are some great plot twists.

I highly recommend this book for fans of fantasy, magical realism, and mysteries. A great story about family, love, and forgiveness. Please note the following trigger warnings: discussion of child abuse and trauma, an assault scene, and suicide.
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"A Spell of Rowans" grabs you by the lapels and refuses to let go until you finish the book.  At least that is what it felt like to me.  I started reading this book and had trouble putting it down for exotic things like eating or sleeping.  I waited on the edge of my seat as I wondered what Vic was going to do about her situation (no details here, because you don't want spoilers, trust me).

Victoria Rowan, known as Vic to her friends and family, lived through an abusive childhood, running away from home and mostly not looking back.  The story begins with her mother's death, and we (the readers) discover that her mother was the source of Vic's misery.  As Vic and her siblings deal with the death, the past catches up to the present in surprising ways.  

I will not include spoilers, but know that you will need to set aside time to read "A Spell of Rowans".  Clear your calendar for a few days and expect to be swept away in the mystery.
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Ding, Dong, the witch is dead....
When Rachel Rowan dies, she leaves behind three relieved children, a business full of secrets, and a town full of hatred.  A brutally abusive woman, Rachel ruled the Rowan household with an iron fist.  Her eldest daughter, with the gift to beguile, escaped home as soon as she could but came back to run a successful real estate business.  Her second daughter, with the gift of empathy, slipped away in the night at the time of her father's death and found shelter in the world of art in the city.  Her only son, gifted with sight, stayed and was the most broken of all.  They are reunited to tie up the loose ends of their mother's estate only to discover ugly secrets hidden at her antique store, Rosemary Thyme, and the murder of her only employee.  This story weaves past into present to solve old crimes, identify current wrongs, and set things right.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was well written and engaging with interesting and likeable characters.  While the subject matter is extremely dark, the strength and resilience of the characters keeps the reader from being too bogged down by the subject matter.  The layered mysteries within the story kept me guessing until the very end.  I would definitely recommend, especially to those who enjoy magical realism.
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3.5 Stars
A Spell of Rowans explores the legacy of childhood trauma with an intriguing dash of magic. 

In this book we follow Victoria as she is forced to leave her comfortable life and return to her hometown for her abusive mother's burial. When she arrives her life is complicated by her high school love, her brother being accused of murder, and a blackmail scheme.

This book was fun, but the plot was a little too convoluted for my taste, with numerous threads that didn't have enough space to breathe. I don’t mind a complex book, but this story didn’t need all of the clutter. The family dynamics could have carried the story without needing so much fabricated mystery. This book was at its best when we were learning about Vic’s past and seeing how she was coping with it (or in some cases ignoring it).
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Once you start reading Beware because you're not going to want to put this one down.  A compelling story that grips the readers attention and doesn't let go. Great characters! Story moves at an excellent pace! Thanks #netgalley and #RookandCastlePress for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
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What an incredible and unanticipated book. I found this in the fantasy section and had expectations for it to be pretty fantasy heavy - it was anything but. While there is some special "magic" abilities held by the three main characters the book is actually more of a murder mystery. The author however does not disappoint. the book is full of intrigue and just enough fantasy to keep the story lively and interesting. The characters are flawed, real and with real baggage and emotions to reel you in and keep you hooked till the very last page. Extraordinarily satisfying book and totally different from most fantasy reads. highly recommended!
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I enjoyed this book well enough. I would’ve preferred more development and involvement of the magic held by the siblings personally. 

In terms of a mystery/thriller, the story was solid and I wasn’t able to guess the ending - which is a plus. However it just wasn’t what I was hoping for based on the description. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I read this book in 2 days, it was so hard to put down. I liked the characters, the story, everything! It was very engaging and I really enjoyed the way curses and special powers were used in the book. 

Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy!
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I found this to be an enjoyable read, keeping me on my toes throughout.  The storyline was written well and flowed seamlessly. I look forward to reading more by this author!
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Rachel Rowan passed away and Victoria Rowan is called home.  It seems no on is sad that Rachel has passed away, not her children and not the town.  The Police chief doesn’t care for the Rowan family and makes their loss even more uncomfortable by harassing the family.  When another death occurs, the Chief brings in Liam Rowan as his primary suspect, but with out solid evidence, the DA won’t do anything, even if it is a Rowan.

As Vic and her siblings work to settle things and clear out the house, the Rowan’s powers seem to tell a different story than the autopsy and Police.  Could Rachel Rowan have been murdered?  There was no list of people who loved Rachel and yet a long one of people who hated her, including her own offspring.  With the help of two old friends and her siblings, Vic does her best to set things right, both with the locals Rachel wronged and with her family itself.  

A great story…I wish this were a series and not just a novel.  Maybe the author will surprise us all and release more books with Vic and the others.  I’d really like to know what the future hods for all of them.
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A Spell of Rowans is a murder mystery with family drama and secrets and a mystical twist.  I loved the small town feel where everybody knows everybody, and in some cases, what they have been up to.  This is a very enjoyable book. If you like books with magical realism, add it to your to-read pile.  Thanks to author Byrd Nash,  Rook and Castle Press, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
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I was surprised to say the least that I was given this book from Netgalley to review!~  It was already a few weeks past its publishing date when I requested it.  Anyway, I finally got around to reading the story and it was a compulsive page turner for sure.  Each sibling has their own unique personality, which is really nice, and the mystery is fairly intense.  I would have liked to see a little bit more magic in the world that's not internalized; we really only get one spoken spell the entire novel.  It's a doozy, too, which is good, or I would have been a little bit disappointed,

Anyway the story is complex enough on its own that it probably didn't need the magic thrown in as well, but it was a nice touch.  

Their mother proved to be absolutely horrible in a "man, who peed on your cornflakes" kind of a way (we never do get any kind of reason for her being so despicable other than she's a prideful and hateful woman), and the abuses she puts her kids through is shocking.  But it does feel a bit over the top in some places.  I get the idea she'd be the type of person Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew would describe as “A devilish temper she had, but she was a dem fine woman, sir, a dem fine woman” while shaking in his boots.

The story wraps up nicely at the end as well.  Just, be prepared.  The abuse is a very strong theme throughout this book if you're faint of heart, because the siblings are still dealing with everything that happened.
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A Spell of Rowans is a book that tackles trauma, loss, secrets, recovery, and the nuances of a murder mystery within one relatively small package. A book best described as magical realism, it also a satisfying story about a family torn by shame, guilt, abuse, and the complexities of being born into a name and a power that seem to overshadow the workings of who we are outside of them- not least of all by the figures of who we are perceived to be, pushed to be by others, and then turn out to be when we finally speak for ourselves. While I think it could still be a bit stronger as a novel I definitely wouldn't fail to pick up another book about the Rowans.
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