Cover Image: The Witch of Rathborne Castle

The Witch of Rathborne Castle

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Member Reviews

Nice, fast to read story. Interesting plot, lively characters. English aristocrats, spies, greed, treason, crime, love - all in one book. I like Virginia's writing style.
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The Witch of Rathborne Castle by Virginia Barlow
Format - eBook
Genre - Historical fiction/Romance/Fantasy
Rating - 5 out of 5 stars

If you like paranormal and regency era books this is the book for you. I absolutely loved it! It was such a good book for this time of year and I read it in just a few days!

This book is about Lady Jane who is left alone in Rathborne Castle penniless and hurt. She has a few trusted servants. The village is all against her and call her a witch. Then a man shows up on her doorstep one evening injured and needing her to help him heal and find a traitor to the crown. She has some witchy powers particularly being about to know things before they happen. Which keeps them from danger several times.

This man is keeping secrets though and although the voice in her head that tells her about danger or sometimes good things tells her to trust him. As the days pass and they are trapped inside by bitter cold temperatures and lots of snow. They slowly start to fall in love with each other.

Will his secret draw them closer together or will it tear them apart? Will they find the traitor in time to not be killed themselves? Well I guess you will have to read and find out. Have some spooky fun by reading this book.
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Love this book, hooked me from start to finish, story line is very refreshing and different from most, very enjoyable cosy and loveable read, you will not want to put this down
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Alone and destitute, Lady Jane must put her trust in a stranger in order to save them both. All Lady Jane has is a cold, empty castle surrounded by dense forest and a dark secret. An ability to hear a guiding voice that gives her glimpses into the past, present, and future and warns her when trouble is near. Some call her a witch; she just wants a normal life. When an injured man named Max flings himself over the Rathborne gates, she’s naturally suspicious. But she heals him and gives him shelter, not knowing who he really is. There’s something about Max which she’s drawn to, but she’s scared. He’s got secrets of his own and they’ll have to trust each other to come out of the danger surrounding Rathborne in one piece. Deep-rooted deception, treason, and more encircle Lady Jane and Max. Can they reveal the truth to the king, or will they both be hanged by vicious lies?

The Witch of Rathborne Castle is a riveting historical paranormal romance from start to finish. I hadn’t read more than a few pages before I was hooked. The plot unfolds at a nice easy pace with descriptive narration and a heroine to root for. Lady Jane is a mysterious character and her backstory plucked at my heartstrings. Max is a hero on a mission. Can he root out the traitor? The stakes are high for both Jane and Max which added to the anticipation. I did find the obstacles Jane and Max have to face a little over the top. But with each obstacle, they drew closer as a couple. There’s a wonderful gothic vibe to this story. There are quite a few twists I didn’t see coming, especially near the end. I may have gasped a few times. The ending was so unexpected, I got a little emotional. The Witch of Rathborne Castle is an engrossing historical romance with paranormal elements I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Fans of both historical romance and paranormal romance will love The Witch of Rathborne Castle. Reminiscent of Jude Deveraux’s historicals, The Witch of Rathborne Castle will sweep the reader away. Highly recommend!

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in the hopes I'd review it.

My Rating: 5 stars
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A bewitching story. It was super easy to read, entertaining, with a good plot and enough twists and turns to keep you engaged. The story is about Max Radley and Lady Jane Lenwood, about family, love, trust, sacrifice, hatred, envy, treason and revenge... about the choices made and the outcome.
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The story begins with a mystery. An unknown man lying just within the gates of the castle, in the middle of winter, almost food for a hungry pack of wolves. From there, the mystery increases. Who is he really, and what or who is behind the voice in Jane's head?

As Jane begins to have feelings for this unknown man, her dreams come crashing down as she not only learns his true identity, but that there is constant danger to them both, a danger that seems to keep coming at them, regardless of how many times they fought back.

I was impressed with the layers of problems the couple - mainly Max - fought through to discover the truth of who was behind the treason against the crown. Several other questions were wrapped up neatly by the end of the story, including the truth behind her being left at Rathbourne.

Overall, I liked the flow of the story and would recommend it.
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I really enjoyed the plot of this book. I just really wanted to like Jane more. She started out she seeming wise and mature, but as the story develops and we get to know Max, she turns whiny and frustrating. There were points where I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. Meanwhile, Max is going above and beyond to try and protect her and make her happy. I adore Max and the plot, it is loaded with intrigue, villains, and vengeance. While Jane did annoy me, this is still a very good story and absolutely worth reading!

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Just finished with the book and my verdict, GO FOR IT. A perfect blend of historical fiction with a dash of thrill and the blooming romance. I couldn't wait to complete it and at the same time I wanted to absorb it relish it. The book is a standalone which makes it a good read.
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The premise was intriguing and the overall plot line was generally interesting with political intrigue, treason, and noble family issues. It was not as “witchy” as I expected - I wanted more gothic creepiness, and this definitely leaned more towards standard historical romance (with some voices and visions).

I think this book has a lot of potential, but the writing itself is rather basic and choppy. From the opening, I expected a fairy tale-esque story, which means long, flowing sentences full of archaic language that inspires emotion. The narration of this book feels more like a succinct report. There were a few times that I thought to myself how it felt like reading a news article. There were some small inconsistencies as well…characters knowing something they were supposedly unaware of or doing an action that would be impossible given what they were already doing.

The heroine started out likable but became really petulant as the story went on. You might get where she’s coming from, but eventually you want to give her your mom face 🤨 and tell her to grow up. I couldn’t believe Max was into her at times. Towards the end, her behavior didn’t even make sense as being the slightest bit helpful for what she was worried about. 

There were some time period inaccuracies…a dance was mentioned that I looked up (I love when stories inspire me to learn new things!) but discovered was not actually done in this time period. And there was no mention of wigs - this is the time period where wigs showed what a man you were, and our hero never wore won. Not a huge deal, just noticeable if you set your story during the Georgian era (hard not to compare to Eloisa James on this) when fashion was pretty distinct. 

The grandmother was great and way underutilized. Overall, I think this story is interesting and could be very thrilling with a slightly different execution. Maybe that will happen with the final copy.

I loved this line:

“The shadows retreated as Mr. Radley walked closer with his candle. They promised to return as soon as he left.”

Thank you netgalley for the arc!
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