Masterfully set in a tumultuous time with well-crafted characters, The King’s Witch is a wonderful first novel that is difficult to put aside. Borman makes historical figures, such as the insecure King James and the intelligent, honorable Tom Wintour come to life on the page. Readers will root for the fictional Frances, who faces impossible odds at times but never loses her sense of self. The first book of a trilogy, The King’s Witch will have its readers waiting impatiently for the next two volumes.
The incredibly detailed and vivid narrative transports readers to a time when women were seen as no more than a commodity to be traded, and conspiracy loomed in every corner ... This engaging page-turner is enhanced by flawless prose and an absorbing plot, making it a perfect choice for fans of historical fiction and post-Tudor England.
By introducing Tom Wintour, a real-life figure, as Frances’ love interest, Borman adds a little historical heft and a lot of spice to her tale. The action culminates with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, as the stage is nicely set for volume two of this projected trilogy.
Borman is an astute chronicler of 17th-century English life, keenly depicting the excesses of the court and the dangers of religious persecution. The vivid detail and effortless storytelling will appeal to many readers, particularly fans of historicals in the vein of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.
Lavish depictions of architecture and scenery pad the narrative—buildings come alive, people less so. The book’s second half is devoted to Frances’ hand-wringing over whether or not the Guy Fawkes plot will succeed—her beloved, Tom Wintour, is a ringleader, and she sympathizes with the plot’s ultimate aim: to replace James with Princess Elizabeth. Clichés abound: Hearts leap, eyes blaze, and far too many curtseys are 'bobbed.' A potentially intriguing take on regime change derailed by its choice of heroine.