I received Megge of Bury Down for free from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, because I do these reviews for love of books, which can’t buy me a cup of coffee. This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. If you like this post, do me a solid and buy your book from Amazon via my link.
Some lovely book mail landed on my desk recently! The debut novel of author Rebecca Kightlinger, Megge of Bury Down is a historical fiction tale, set in medieval England, and a suspenseful, carefully wrought gem of fantasy and magic. Read on for my review!Megge of Bury Down Series: ,
on January 24, 2018
Genres: historical fiction, Fantasy
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Murderer! When six-year-old Megge first touches the ancient Book of Seasons, a mysterious voice accuses her of an ugly crime. Although the book is her legacy, she refuses to touch it again. If she does, she is certain she will be the death of those she loves. But seven years later, events conspire to force her to once again to accept her responsibility. If she refuses to take up the task, who will ensure the Book's ancient wisdom survives, safe from the hands of those who would use it for evil?
At the start, I impatiently found myself thinking that it felt little slow to build at the beginning – but as I got further into the book, I realized why the pace and the detail were necessary. There is a lot of development of setting and Megge’s character, and of background in this tale. Oh, Kightlinger has paid meticulous attention to detail, and she really does drop you into the scene.
We meet Megge when she is six and first touches the Book Of Shadows, a book that she is destined to be responsible for. But when she touches the book, she hears a voice say accusingly “murderer”, and she is terrified, refusing to touch it.
Such a heavy burden for a small child, even one destined to be the one to hold its wisdom. We feel her struggle between not wanting to let her mother down, wanting to be included in what they do – and being utterly terrified of whatever that word implied.
To understand the weight and the power of the book, the back story needs to be told. (And by back story, the Prologue starts 900 years in the past – and that is just part of the story.) There are details and characters, and while part of my brain thought “this is oddly slow” I did not get impatient or start to skim to get to the action, because the details held enough to capture my attention.
By the time I was a third of the way through the book, though, I was glued to my chair. As Megge grows through childhood, the importance of the book and her longing to be a part of her family’s destiny pulls at her as fear holds her back. Kightlinger does a delightful job with developing her characters as well as teasing the reader with just enough information to keep turning the pages to get to the WHY and the WHAT. What does the voice that Megge hears when she first touches the book really mean? WHAT is she not being told? WHY does her mother react the way she does?
She is also wonderful at developing the setting and the scene, and the world she has built is as complex as the story line, and our heroine herself, Megge. Longing to be part of the destiny her family is fulfilling, terrified of the mysterious sacrifice her mother speaks of, feeling in the shadow of the seeming perfect cousin whom she loves dearly. Kightlinger has created some magic here indeed, and the book became unputdownable without my realizing it.
This is a book about destiny, about self-acceptance, and about overcoming fear. It’s a story that starts slowly and builds up steadily. Soon enough the all the pieces, all the detail, the slow build start to make sense as the complicated, intricately crafted pieces of Megge’s puzzle fall into place, and my patience paid off.
It’s no surprise that my questions won’t all be answered in Megge of Bury Down as the cover discloses that it is Volume 1 of the The Bury Down Chronicles. I, for one, am impatient for Volume 2.
About the Author
Rebecca Kightlinger holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she is a book reviewer for Historical Novels Review, a submissions reader for New England Review, and a reader and copy editor for Stonecoast Review.
Her debut novel, MEGGE OF BURY DOWN, is available now in soft cover and e-book versions.
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