The Witch of Czartoryski. But you won’t find her out in the field; she’s confined in a fortress and needs a wizard guardian – and just one – to keep her happy and her family safe.
This isn’t the first time we’ve featured her – we’ve written about Czartoryskis before – and her story really was a highlight for me in the book. The heroine’s journey is told in a poetic, non-fiction style, with a strong narrative voice to hold the reader’s attention.
The Witches of Czartoryski tells five tales, based on the author’s childhood. While the stories are loosely based on the stories her own grandmother told her about the “little land” she remembers living on, they are also true to the real life of this tiny country in eastern Poland.
From the very beginning of the book, Czartoryskis’s grandmother recounts the real facts of her life, all the while presenting her as an exceptional person with rare skills and a great knack for the dark arts. Her story is told in a playful, easy-to-interpret voice. She tells about her adventures in a colorful and appealing way, using colourful language and vivid illustrations to make it seem as if the stories are happening to somebody else.
Throughout, the author is careful to use real-life examples of how witchcraft can be used and abused to hurt others. When her grandmother, her sisters and her mother all go missing, Czartoryskis is left isolated, alone and with no clue of what happened to her family. She does not know where to go, and no one can ever help her. To cope with her situation and not give up, she creates the first witch guardian.
This is a story that is really hard to put down. The author describes her surroundings, from the tiny village to this magical world that is the heart of her story. She also writes really eloquently in her words and even uses the full range of Polish language.
At times, the story can seem somewhat melodramatic, but she is a perfectionist when it comes to writing. There is no mistaking this book for anything else, which, considering the length, isn’t a bad thing. While the language is easy to read, it’s one that you have to be careful to understand. The prose is elegant but hard to read. While the stories are not particularly difficult for beginners, this book might be hard for people who
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