Book Blog--CHANTRESS by Amy Butler Greenfield
“Sing, and the darkness will find you.” This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness.
When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England.
Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion...
Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic. (from Goodreads)
I've been a little crazy with deadlines and refreshing my research for Book 3, so reading a work of fiction--especially one as good as this--has been a wonderful escape. It was also wonderfully eye-opening.
One of my favorite questions is "What if?" so I'm a big fan of alternative history, though I can't say I've read nearly enough of it. The historical question in CHANTRESS is "What if Charles I wasn't beheaded, but instead suppressed Parliament and the Commonwealth never happened?" And then "What if the king and many of his councillors were massacred in a Gunpowder-type Plot that worked?"
And then, of course, what if there were women (like Morgan le Fay) who inherited the ability to perform magic--through singing the magic already existing in the world?
Because Greenfield has done her research and writes so vividly and lyrically, the world and all of its inherent twists and turns are completely believable. I fell in love with Lucy and her strength, and with Nat and his incisive scientific questioning. I fell even more in love with the Invisible College and their distinctive links to the members of the real Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.
This book works so well as a stand-alone I began to wonder if it is, and I was delighted to discover there will be more. I can't wait.