- N. N. Light
Book Recommendation | A Spell of Rowans by Byrd Nash #fiction #fantasy #womensfiction #bookboost
Title A Spell of Rowans
Author: Byrd Nash
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery.
Publisher: Rook and Castle Press
Magic comes in threes.
Victoria, whose empathic talent reads hidden feelings. Phillipa, with a glamour that bewitches. Liam, who can touch an object to reveal its past.
All are in danger.
Their narcissistic mother, Rachel Rowan, sniffed out secrets and she used her antique shop, Rosemary Thyme, to torment the residents of Grimsby.
But with her death and the murder of her assistant, Vic must discover the truth before the past destroys what remains of her family.
And that hometown boy she dumped way back? He's in Grimsby and knows the truth about her.
With their magical talents twisted by a traumatic past, the Rowan siblings must face the deadly fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic in this emotional page-turner.
NOTE Trigger warnings for discussion of child abuse and trauma, with one assault scene, and some cursing.
Excerpt (from Chapter 4):
When I entered the interrogation room, Liam didn’t acknowledge my entrance. He was silent, staring at the opposite wall.
My brother sat at the desk, stripped of his protective shields. His hat, gloves, and muffler lay on the metal table. Without his sunglasses, Liam’s baby blue eyes and pale round face had no defenses.
He looked much younger than his twenty-nine years.
Seated across from him was a guy I faintly remembered, though I had to look at his nametag to nudge my memory: Deacon Hayes. Greg Easton’s second-in-command fifteen years ago, an older version than I remembered.
It seemed he was now police chief. Deacon Hayes had moved up from ticketing kids who loitered at the strip mall past curfew.
In a town that had made many a big man, Deacon was a toad-shape of fat. His gut overhung his belt buckle, and his neck was a column of jowls and chin. His eyes were cold, mean, and far too watchful.
In the corner of the square pea-green room stood Reed, arms crossed, his hip against the wall. I thought I was starting to understand the reason for the gun on the train.
Bad cop and murky cop.
“Liam, you have counsel,” I told him. “Your lawyer advises you to stay quiet until he arrives.” As I took a chair next to my sibling, I asked Deacon, “What is this all about?”
I couldn’t feel anything from Reed. No surprise. Still a blank wall. Mr. Inscrutable.
From Deacon, I gained a mix of satisfaction-smugness, with just a shadow of uncertainty. He said, “A man of your brother’s description—”
“Don’t give me that bullshit,” I said, my voice dripping with cold scorn. “That’s a lame excuse. Tell me why you have my brother here.”
The empath-pathway worked both ways. Yes, I could feel another’s emotions, and could also make them feel mine. I touched Deacon’s uncertainty and leaned. It was a skill I had stopped using a decade ago, seeing how it damaged Liam. Emotions made dangerous tidepools.
But Deacon had a hard core of self-belief, he refused to doubt himself. “Back in town, twenty-four hours and cocky as ever, Victoria Rowan. Shouldn’t you be home, overcome with grief?”
“When evil dies, do you mourn its loss?”
I felt a flash of surprise from him, quickly smothered.
“We do have a description, and your brother is very distinctive. Hard to forget. A man who walks around mumbling to himself? Who wears gloves, a muffler, and a hat in the middle of summer?”
“Liam isn’t saying anything without his attorney, Mr. Hunter Garrick.”
Deacon gave a low whistle. “Already got the rich lawyer lined up, huh?”
“What about you?” Reed’s voice caused me to break my staring contest with Deacon. I felt a quick, sharp prick of irritation from Deacon. The police chief wasn’t keen about Reed being here. Interesting.
Reed pushed himself away from his corner and came closer to where we sat. Was he trying to intimidate me?
“Can you talk?” he drawled.
I shrugged, playing at being nonchalant. There was nothing I could say, as I knew nothing. Reed continued.
“What do you know about your father’s death?”
Oh, that same old song and dance.
“No, Reed, I don’t know who murdered my father. Maybe you should open an investigation into it, since your father didn’t do such a great job in solving it.”
I smiled pleasantly and batted my eyelashes at him.
“You left Grimsby shortly after your father’s death.”
“Yes, to attend university. Scholarships don’t wait on grief.”
“Why leave in the middle of the night telling no one?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Were you hiding in the bushes, watching me say my tearful goodbyes? Why do you think it was in the middle of the night? Maybe it was after breakfast? Before supper?”
Deacon interrupted our duel of words.
“Look, Easton, I let you in on this interview as a courtesy to your dad. The FBI has no jurisdiction in this matter, so stand down and let me do my job.”
Deacon’s remark must have caught Reed on the raw, for, without warning, he suddenly tossed something toward my brother. Liam instinctively reached up to catch it, but my brother was barehanded. He screamed as his skin touched it and fell from his chair to writhe on the concrete floor.
Scrambling after him, I pried open his hands. He was holding a set of keys with a dangling double-R fob. I threw my mother’s keyring as far from us as possible.
Liam curled tighter into a ball. I put myself over him, holding him tight against me as I broke my promise and opened a forbidden door. The connection sprang back into place in one breath. I felt Liam’s terror, its pungent stink burning my nostrils.
I should never have left him. I should have stolen him away with me all those years ago, when I had fled. Guilt made me open the floodgates with no care for myself. Once again, I was my brother’s keeper.
I grew lightheaded as I brought it deeper into myself, past the boundary that separated our sense of self. Connections continued to be made, but it became too much. Flooded, it sucked me down in a tidepool too strong for me to fight.
From a long distance away, I could hear Phillipa outside the steel door. She was shouting and pounding on it. How uncharacteristic of her. How impolite. Mother would be angry with her.
“Vic! Victoria!” That was Reed.
“Get a paramedic!” another voice shouted. That jerk Deacon Hayes. It would serve him right if I died here under his watch. I rolled off Liam, who was now quiet.
Eyes closed, lying flat on the floor, I could smell concrete, pee, and cigarettes. Underneath the stench was a faint whiff of bleach.
“What did you do to my sister?!”
Oh, your sister did it to herself, Pip. Like she always does.
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Spinning tales of subtle magic with unexpected twists, she packages satisfying stories that read like no others. Byrd writes the book you need, not the one you expected.
Described by one reviewer as a "literary glass of bourbon after a long day,” and another: "When I get a Byrd story, I know I'm in good hands."
Whether it is a Doppelgänger who was once a medieval knight now working in college administration, or an updated Red Riding Hood escaping a post-WWI wolf pack, her characters all feel real.
That Celtic goddess at the pet store? She's someone you know. A medieval queen fleeing an abusive marriage? You experience her pain and triumph.
With a B.A. in journalism, she worked as a newspaper reporter, covering news, schools, and lifestyle for both weeklies and dailies. She was the first journalist to serve as director of The Forest Heritage Center in Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma.
Her hobbies include reading, nature hikes, and traveling when she has the money. She seldom has the money. Married to a man who reads all her books but with two adult children who never read them. Byrd has cats, which makes her a legit author.
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