Elizabeth has just moved to Willow Cottage in the small village of Matravers and is quietly settling in. She pulls weeds, waits for a break in the weather in order to plant a holly hedge, and starts an herb garden. She makes oils and ointments to sell at the local farmer’s market and minds her own business. However, this solitary lady has a couple of secrets. First, she is a witch and is almost four hundred years old. Second, she has spent most of that time on the run from an evil warlock named Gideon who made her immortal.
Tegan is a lonely teenager who meets Elizabeth one day while working on her holly hedge. Elizabeth politely tries to rebuff her but the girl is fascinated and comes back again and again. Bonds of friendship are formed and Elizabeth begins to tell her the story of her past, although at first the girl just thinks she is giving family history.
She tells of Bess, a headstrong young woman in the early 1600’s who’s family is almost entirely destroyed by the plague. It would have taken Bess’ life as well but her mother entered into a bargain with a strange, scary man named Gideon who lived out in the woods. The repercussions of that act would be felt for many centuries. She also has a story about medicine in Victorian England and another one of nursing at the front lines in WW1. But when Elizabeth senses the presence of Gideon once again, she realizes that two people’s lives may be at stake this time.
This story is out of my usual genre but I really enjoyed reading it. One of the neat things about having Nook and Kindle is checking out all the sale and free books for the week. I have found many new authors this way. I just got Paula Brackston’s short story The Witches of Blue Well so if I come across a short story challenge, I might actually be tempted to join.