THE LAST WINDWITCH
Brida may be a terrible hedgewitch's apprentice - she can't identify herbs and her charms are all mistakes - but when she sees a herd of mythical stormhorses captured by the Huntsman she knows she must free them. Pursued by a pack of massive Hounds and spied on by a flock of mysterious Crows, Brida meets unexpected allies and discovers a power she never guessed. But Mother Magdi, the hedgewitch who took her in as a baby, hides secrets about her past while Moira, the Queen of Crows, holds the keys to her future. To survive, Brida must navigate currents of political and magical intrigue in a world where even the seasons seem to spin out of control. THE LAST WINDWITCH is about her finding the truth, recognizing her magic, and bringing balance back to the land.
About the Author
Jennifer Adam started writing stories when her grandmother showed her how to make books out of construction paper and staples. After living on both coasts, she ended up marrying a farmer and settling down in the middle of the country. A lake covered in swans makes up for being landlocked, though, and she enjoys taking a kayak out whenever she can. She has two formerly wild mustangs and enjoys being an English rider in cowboy country. When she's not on the water or in the saddle, she's probably hiking through trees or hiding in a library. She is a voracious consumer of books, collects fountain pens and colored inks, and adores classical music and ballet.
The Last Windwitch opens with a foundling, twelve-year-old Brida, sneaking out from the hedgewitch’s home where she’s been raised as an apprentice in order to learn more about the stories shared on the Day of Remembering. But the kindly hedgewitch has kept the stories from Brida for her own protection, and it’s only as the story progresses that Brida begins to realize that while she may not share the hedgewitch’s particular knack for plant magic, she seems to have a magic of her own—magic that draws her to the mysterious stormhorses that she’s grown up believing were myth until they begin storming the countryside and dazzling Brida with their unbridled power.
I’m a sucker for any kind of plant magic, and I love how this story weaves traditional hedgewitch mythology with white and dark magic as well as stormhorses––a herd that harnesses the elements of rain, snow, sun, and wind in a wild and powerful magic of their own. Even as readers are caught up in the mystery and danger Brida faces, they are confronted with medieval realities that will resonate with today’s audiences. I particularly appreciated the moment when Brida thinks back to the refugees she has seen in the past: [she] had seen refugees and had known––distantly––that other paces weren’t so fortunate, but she hadn’t truly understood the danger of their daily lives. While the story doesn't feel didactic, it gently points readers toward an examination of topics such as the environment (and our relationship with it), power imbalances, friendship, and family––all in a way that combines lyrical writing and a fast-paced plot that grips readers from the moment the book begins.
Another of my favorite threads in this book is the importance of history and stories. We’re first introduced to Voices, elders tasked with remembering and sharing history and lore, in the opening chapter. Later in the story, Brida befriends a girl who has lost her voice and communicates with sign; it's through this friendship that Brida realizes that stories have power. I couldn't agree more, and the power of this magical story will stay with readers long after they shut the final pages.
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Jessica Vitalis is a Columbia MBA-wielding writer specializing in middle grade literature. An American expat, she now lives in Canada with her husband and two precocious daughters. Her debut novel, THE WOLF’S CURSE, will be published September 21, 2021 by Greenwillow/HarperCollins with a second book to follow. Twitter: @jessicavitalis Website: www.jessicavitalis.com Instagram: @jessicavauthor