I loved the first Caitlyn book by Elizabeth Davies, Three Bloody Pieces (review here!), so I was thrilled to be able to join the book tour for the second book, A Stain on the Soul. I loved it even more than the first one – if you’re looking for a witchy read for October, I highly recommend this series!
Book: A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies
Read before: No
Ownership: Kindle copy sent for fair review
Resigned to another lifetime of being a witch’s familiar, Caitlyn has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.
But that peace is shattered when she returns to her native land only to come face-to-face with her past, and fall in love with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.
As always with sequels, it’s a little hard to review without spoiling the first book, so please do proceed with caution!
A Stain on the Soul picks up some 20 years after the end of Three Bloody Pieces – Caitlyn hasn’t aged at all, thanks to the enchantment on her, but Arlette’s son William (later the Conqueror!) is a grown man, and ready to make a move for the English throne. Caitlyn must help him to gain power, while also navigating the difficulties thrown up by her perpetual youth, and also trying hard not to fall in love with a man she can never have, since she is owned by Arlette.
Caitlyn’s matured a lot since the first book, and this gave a really interesting perspective to her voice. She feels wiser, and more cunning, and it’s easy to see the impression that her time with Arlette has made on her. I loved seeing her tenderness for William – she really is more of a mother to him than the horrible Arlette has ever been, and this made for some incredibly emotional scenes towards the end of the book, because Caitlyn’s enchantment makes normal relationships very, very hard. There is a romance aspect to this book that wasn’t present in the first, so be warned, it gets a little steamy in places! The romance was well-written though, and kind of heart-wrenching…
The historical setting is, as with the first book, fascinating. I was really impressed with how much of the book is based on historical facts! A major plot point in the beginning of the novel is the engagement of William and Matilda of Flanders, and I was delighted to find out how true to history this was – he really did march into her father’s home and fling her to the ground by her braids after she refused him! I definitely agree with the author that witchcraft would be a great explanation for her change of heart after that.
With Caitlyn separate from Arlette for much of the novel, there is a lot less of the witchcraft practice that I loved in the first book, which was a shame, but this is made up for by the inclusion of lots more of one of my other favourite things, which is court politics. I would have liked to see more of the creepy rituals from the first book, but in a way it makes sense that Caitlyn is no longer so fascinated with it after so many years, and tries to avoid taking part in it. We do get a lot more of a look at the enchantment on her, though, and there is a wonderful discussion about how much less stressful it is to be a cat than a woman!
If you’re looking for a series with a strong, complex, nuanced female lead, and you happen to like history, witches and cats, then this is pretty much the perfect book. It certainly is for me! Both books make me want to learn lots more about the historical setting – there are so many fantastic women to learn about, and I’m definitely going to be looking up more information on Matilda. A Stain on the Soul is a wonderful continuation of a really inventive and well-written series. And that cliffhanger! Well, let’s just say I can’t wait for Book Three.
Five out of five cats! And it’s only 99p at the moment – grab a Kindle copy here!
Elizabeth is hosting another awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of A Stain on the Soul!
Win signed copies of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul plus a magic mug and a coaster. (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…