Cover Image: A Spell of Rowans

A Spell of Rowans

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Member Reviews

I loved this title! The bond between the siblings was typical of so many families. I appreciated it portrayed a dysfunctional family and the lasting effects it has on adult children. It would be a great part of a series, but I loved it even if doesn't come to be.
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This book was such a delight! So grateful that I got to read it and share my thoughts, thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and share my honest opinion! It was a wonderfully woven hometown tale of family and trauma and how those two things intersect. I loved the magic elements used in this story, specifically the way they are never fully explained. The way the family and the town talks about it is so "it is what it is," so even though their magic drove the plot in a few ways, it also wasn't really about that, it was about the family, siblings, and their history and their love for each other and their loyalty to one another.

The author did a wonderful job writing all the ways that trauma can affect a family, and I loved each of the three Rowan siblings so much. Getting to see Vic exist in her past and her present made her feel so real, and I actually wanted to know even more about her job and how she got from past to present...  The story moved at such a good, fast pace I honestly could hardly put this down. At times, it did feel a bit overwritten, like some plot points were hitting me over the head with a plank, but that is something I feel about books pretty often so I won't fault this novel too hard for not being as subtle as I prefer. Truly great read!

**SPOILERS BELOW* 
The only thing that really bothered me in this story was that Reed's ability to suck up any extra emotions was never explained. The first time I understood what happened it felt menacing to me, but as I kept reading I saw how the characters thought it was a gift, but I never could understand why he was that way, and although I didn't need to know how the Rowans got their magic, I found I really did need to know how Reed got his.
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I loved A spell of Rowans! The author's writing style reminds me of Alice Hoffman. Magic runs through the background of the storyline, but takes a back seat to the plot. 
Victoria Rowan left her hometown behind to pursue college and her career in the city. Her mother recently died, her father died years ago, and her brother is under suspicion for the murders. Victoria returns to her hometown to find violence and anger against the members of her family is still prevalent among the community members. Victoria, her older sister, Phillipa, and younger brother, Liam seek to discover their mother's secrets, clear Liam's name, and hopefully stop the violence.
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Victoria Rowan, "Vic", escaped from her mother's controlling abusive house years ago after her father's death. Now,  her response after hearing of her mother's death...ding, dong, the witch is dead. But when she returns home to Grimsby to help with final arrangements, things aren't quite that easy. How can narcissistic mother still be the center of attention after her death?
This book has well written characters,  a great mysterious plot,  a little bit of romantic tension,  and some magic.  I love this author's writing style and look forward to reading more of her books. 
I received an advance reader copy of this book through NetGalley. The views and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and given voluntarily.
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This is really good, the characters felt so real and the magic system was written wonderfully.
They seemed so real that I felt their pain, cried for them, cried with them, felt for them.
I felt so much sympathy for Liam.
The cover is amazing, the plot, the magic system.
I recommend, it felt so real and the magic system was written wonderfully.
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The Rowan siblings were born with powers – both a gift and a curse. Phillipa could charm anyone, Victoria could see through someone else’s deepest secrets and emotions, and Liam could read memories by touching an object. Their mother, Rachel, was abusive, and even after her death, she’s still terrorizing their waking hours.

I enjoyed reading this book so much that I had to read it twice. It’s fascinating and affecting because it has the elements of mystery, magic, and, most importantly, family drama. At first, I was under the impression that it would be a fantasy/magic kind of book, but it turns out to be more than that. The ‘magic’ element isn’t even that prominent in the book. It tackles more on how these siblings cope and grew together after enduring years of abuse from their mother.

I love the characterization of each character. I particularly adore the interaction of the siblings and the little romance in there. (And speaking of romance, you have got to watch out for Reed—I think we all need a person like Reed in our lives.) I also enjoyed the fact that it kept me guessing until the end about their mother’s death. My only criticism is the ending, which I wished did have some time skip or a future view of these characters because you’d absolutely root for them. I know I did. 

I highly recommend this book and would explore other works from the author.
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Matriarch, Rachel Rowan has recently passed away.  Yet, she still seems to be controlling her children from beyond the grave.  It seems that her abusive behavior in life was so extreme that it extended to the afterlife.  She truly scarred them in ways they have never recovered from.  My heart went out to all three of the Rowan siblings - Pip, Vic and Liam.  They each suffered differently at the hands of their mother and have dealt with it in different ways.

This was an incredibly creative storyline.  I don't believe I've ever read anything quite like it before.  It can't be classified as any one genre.  It definitely could fall under several different ones.  I was quite intrigued.  In addition to the great paranormal plot, there is a mystery surrounding it all that is done extremely well.  To top it off, there are some underlying romances brewing throughout the story as well.  This novel was an absolute delight to read.  Oh, and the cover is incredible!!

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.
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This was darker than I expected and more enjoyable.  While magic was integrated into the plot, the main focus was on a mystery and the familial relationships involved.
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I was immediately immersed in this book and read it in one sitting.  I highly recommend it to lovers of mystery, magic, and/or family drama.

I received a free ARC.  I am leaving my honest review.
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“A Spell of Rowans” was spellbinding. Unlike the usual book with witches as main characters, the witchcraft aspect of this book was at the edges, but not the main focal point. Byrd Nash weaved an interesting mystery with plenty of twists and turns. It’s darker at times – these characters feel very real and have experienced some traumatic events in their lives – but the plot moves seamlessly between events and leads up to an unexpected finale.

We first meet Vic Rowan after learning about the death of her mother, a mother that Vic really has no love for. Quickly, we learn that there’s some concerns around the death of her mother and her mother’s associate, and before you know it, there is so much more going on than first meets the eye. What I really liked about this novel was that the characters really do feel real – they’re a little bit broken from their childhoods, but we see how they process these things over the course of the novel. Again, this is quite a lot of mystery with a dash of the paranormal, but there’s enough of it to make the story interesting but not so much that it bogs the story down. There's also a touch of romance, which rather than distracting from the main plot, helped to round out the story and made it feel more realistic.

If I could change on thing about the story, at times it felt like some pieces of information might be leading the story in a certain direction and didn’t end up being overly important. While everything was relevant to the plot and helped tie everything together, it sometimes felt like some of the events were a little disjointed. But don’t let this stop you from reading this book – it’s a nice read and didn’t feel predictable.
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>>> A  S P E L L  O F  R O W A N S <<<
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
💔💔💔💔/5
🥺🥺🥺🥺/5 
😏😏😏😏😏/5 
🤎🤎🤎🤎🤎/5 

Genre: Contemporary with the right amount of magic 

A Spell of Rowans is set in a small town called Grimsby where our protagonist Rachel Rowan belongs to. After hearing of her mother's death Rachel returns to her home town only to end up running into her exes, murders, and small town politics. As the story unfolds we learn how the Rowan siblings were shaped and effected by their childhood conflicts and trauma. Their mother who practically controlled their lives and still continues to do so even after her death sent a thrill down my spine. I'd like to thank the author for including the high school romance rekindled trope as its my favourite 🙈
The writing felt very real in the sense that it successfully made me terrified of Rachel and almost made me believe that maybe I'm one of her victims as well and let us not forget the excellent depiction of emotions.
This book got me hooked up from the very first page and I would overall describe it as captivating, mind blowing and the perfect combo of contemporary with thrilling magic. This may be one of my top five reads this year 

Please read the TWs before reading the book.
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Rachel Rowan has always been a force to be reckoned with; but now she’s dead and somehow still manages to create havoc amongst her children and the townspeople of Grimsby. Her three grown children have finally had enough. 

The story takes place in a town where everyone knows everyone and their business. I know, because I grew up in such place.  The story’s perspective is told through Vic, the middle Rowan, who left Grimsby 15 years ago under mysterious circumstances and never looked back. She is a loner, tends to be snarky and sharp like a knife.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about Vic at first, but I was quickly won over in just a few chapters. Oh, there’s romance…more than one. 

Nash portrays a dysfunctional family cloaked in a family secret. A secret so terrible that people have been hurt and murdered. Everyone in town, including the Chief of Police, knows who “dun it”.  This is an open and shut case with time running out for one of the Rowans. The question is, which one?  

Nash has created a story that will have you immersed from the beginning to the very last sentence. She is meticulous in the development of each character and the story flows with flair and humor in all of the right places. She’s aced all three elements that I look for in a book;  character growth, world building, and story flow with an edge of your seat ending. The town of Grimsby will never be the same again. I’m sure all of  them will have lots to talk about over a couple cups of coffee for quite some time. Trust me.  

A Spell of Rowans does not have a fair young maiden in distress, no fairies, no wands, no knight in shining armor, nary a werewolf or vampire.  Its just a great story with a bit of magic for those of us who refuse to grow up. And that would be me. I loved this story!

Parental Note:
I would recommend this book for teens 16 and above. 

There are scenes that some may find troubling. I’m just putting it  out there. I was not deterred by this as I thought and felt  these scenes were well written and contributed to the story. I did not feel they were added purely for shock value.
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A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash is an exciting read. It is fantasy but what I liked is that there is no need to understand complicated rules of the world the characters live in before reading the book. The understanding of characters comes easily as you read the book. 

The book is about the death of the mother of the three Rowan siblings, and the angst that comes with it, except they are not sad their mother died. In fact, they seem glad. Hard to understand until the story unfolds. I don't really want to give more away except to say that in the small town of Grimsby, where the siblings grew up and everyone knows all the people who live there, the mother's death may make many people in the town happy.
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How could I resist reading a book about magic? While never explicitly saying they're witches, each Rowan sibling has their own different powers. Phillipa can charm anyone, Vic is an empath who can detect emotions and consume them while Liam can recall history from touching objects. Told from Vic's perspective this dark tale is one of magic, blackmail and murder triggered by the death of their mother and returning to the home town of Grimsby. 
It took me a few chapters to realise the location was not Grimsby in England but in America which changed things completely when I visualised it. 
With high tension, I found myself struggling to put this book down because of the twists and secrets revealed. It's clever, imaginative and a good example of how magic and suspense can blend with contemporary fiction. It deals with tough issues such as abuse in childhood and the effects this has in later life and has the theme of forgiveness and healing once secrets revealed.
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The Rowan family is special. Each of the Rowan children have a gift: Philippa, the oldest has a talent for winning people over; Victoria the middle child, an empath who can feel everyone’s emotions clearly; and Liam, the youngest, who can uncover the story of objects.

Victoria Rowan hasn’t been home to Grimsby since she left for the city. She spent years trying to get away from the abuse of her mother. She had no intention of ever coming back, except her narcissist mother, Rachel Rowan has died, leaving her the family home. Now she’s back and having to face not just her past, but also the past of her siblings and he high school boyfriend.

This is such a unique blend of family drama, mystery, with just a touch of magic. The magic aspect is very light and more a supporting characteristic of the family rather than being the central plot of the story. Instead, our plot is focused more around the Rowan family dynamic and the lingering effects of their child abuse at the hands of their mother.

I thought that Byrd did a great job of developing our main characters throughout the story, and felt that each of our main characters were fully flushed out and brought plenty of personality to the story. I felt completely invested in our character’s lives and would actually love to read an additional story about the Rowan siblings.

This was just an interesting and unique story. It does have a few topics that could be triggering for some people, but overall Byrd does a great job of portraying the events without being overly graphic. Highly recommend for anyone looks for a good fall mystery.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: CHILD ABUSE, DROWNING, SUICIDE.


A Spell of Rowan’s comes out October 26, 2021. Huge thank you to Rook & Castle Press and Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof_books.
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To be honest, I was not sure that I was going to like this book. But I promised myself that I would read every ARC book provided by a publisher, author, or Net Galley.  As it turned out, finishing A Spell of Rowans was not a struggle. I really enjoyed this book. The plot was complex and with many layers of truth hidden inside. There were times when I really did not want to put this book down. Reading Byrd Nash's novel was a bit like peeling an onion.  So much was hidden and in need of discovery.  The characters were interesting and the mystery had many red herrings. I do not normally read books about the supernatural or about magic, but A Spell of Rowans was very well done.  Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing this opportunity to read an ARC of Byrd Nash's novel.
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I was expecting a different kind of novel with this one.

Three magic wielding siblings - Vic aka Victoria, Phillipa and Liam - gather in their small home town after the death of their detested, abusive mother.  Once home a series of unfortunate events triggers a reckoning for the siblings.

To begin, this story progressed way too fast for me.  I felt like I wasn’t given an opportunity to gather my bearings or to feel invested in any of the characters before big things started happening.  

Furthermore, based on the description and title of the book I thought magic would be an overarching theme; yet, it’s so subtle at times I wondered whether it was truly magic they possessed or just sensitivities rooted in their abusive upbringing.

I also expected the house to play a larger role in the story, to be a living, breathing character in its own right and serve as a way of connecting past trauma with their magic and their present day predicament.  I was disappointed that it was only a simple background piece and nothing more.  Same thing goes for the town.

Typically I enjoy a simple, to the point writing style but for this I really wanted more exposition and world building.  I think for magic to work in a story you really need to feel it and I wasn’t feeling it in this story.

The murder mystery aspect of the book was interesting but felt disjointed.  It seemed to start and stop repeatedly throughout rather than just flowing smoothly.  It felt like at different points I was reading different types of stories that weren’t meshing well together.

Overall, my expectations for what this novel was going to be like were not met, unfortunately.
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3.5 stars. I liked this book.

Vic Rowan gets a call from her sister that her mother is dead. And Vic's reaction (relief? joy?) immediately drew me into this story. She returns to her hometown to meet with her sister and brother for the necessary arrangements and all hell breaks loose. She also runs into her ex and they have unresolved business with each other.

The pace of the story was quick and I liked that it moved along nicely. My only wish was that we had a little more of Vic's mother's back story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Rook and Castle Press for this ARC. All reviews and opinions are my own.
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Thank you to the publisher for the digital ARC of this book, it has not affected my honest review! 

TWs: abuse, violence, attempted sexual assault, suicide, 

This is my first Byrd Nash book and I'm so glad that I read it. The characters of the Rowan family, in particular the siblings Vic, Philippa and Liam, are incredibly well written and believable. Their mother, Rachel Rowan, was abusive to her children and to the people of their hometown Grimsby. Her impact has left lasting scars on her children into their adult lives even after she dies- as well as influencing how they use the "gifts" they were born with. This is a difficult book to read in places, while not particularly graphic it doesn't need to be; each section focusing on their mother emphasises the horrible things she did to traumatise her children. The fantasy in "A Spell of Rowans" is exceptionally light, the focus of this novel isn't what the Rowan siblings can do but rather how they deal with the impact of their mother's death. The  small amount of romance in this book is sweet, though moved too quickly for me towards the end. I enjoyed the mystery aspect more towards the beginning but it wrapped up tightly at the end (and with a cause I'd never suspected.) I read this book so quickly, it was easy to read and enjoyable, and I can definitely see it going down well with readers.
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Loved this book.  It is more of a dark novel but full of magic feelings. The cover of this book is absolutely stunning.  I would love to see this book become a series.
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Wow!! This was great! I really enjoyed how fleshed out the characters were in this book. I felt like I really had a connection with each and every one. I was amazed at how the author made Rachel such an ever present person in the book. I could see her influence throughout. I loved that this book showed Vic's demons and how she faced them head on. The pace of this book was perfect and I never felt myind wander.
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