Author: Rebecca L. Garcia
I’d never particularly liked humans, but I’d never wanted to kill one. Until now.
Hidden in a kingdom that hates witches, I’m forced to hide what I am. With my sister working in a secret dark magic club, and our family’s shop gaining unwanted attention, things couldn’t be worse when the notorious witch hunter, Damian Shaw, comes to town.
When my sister shows up dead, and my family’s name is called into question, we’re forced to adopt new aliases and leave the home we cherished. As I watch my life fall apart, I vow to destroy the hunter responsible, but his punishment would not be swift. Death was too easy.
Redforest is a quaint town, with a church, pretty shops, and like any good town, a dark past. When my family and I move in, I set my sights on the Shaw family, quickly learning everything I can about them. Damian’s son, Elijah, is the hunter’s greatest pride. His heir. His confidante. The only family he trusts.
I come up with a plan. I am going to shatter every good thing in Damian’s life, ending with his son. My goal: make Elijah Shaw fall in love with me, twist him into the very thing his father hates, then kill him.
With my heart challenged, the attraction growing, I find myself trapped in a deadly game. In a twist of fate, Elijah might just end up being the death of me.
Embraced by Darkness is a collection of standalone books set in the same world without an overarching plot, which means you can start with any books in the series and pick and choose which ones you want to read. This collection of novels follows different couples as they go from enemies to friends to lovers, while facing dangerous obstacles in a world split between humans, witches and gods, set in two kingdoms that separate them.
[Spellbound (Book 1) Review]
Heart of a Witch is the second novel in the Embracing Darkness collection. Each novel in the series takes place in the same world, so the novels can be read together or as a standalone and you can read them in any order. This story begins with Elijah witnessing a witch trial held by his father, Damian, a famous priest and witch hunter. As Elijah is a Shaw, he is expected to fall in line with the belief that witches are evil and deserve to die. It was a great prologue that introduces the tension between humans and witches as in this part of the universe, witches have to hide who they are or risk being extinguished by the hunters. On the witch side of the story there is Victoria Amberwood, whose sister, Emberly, sets off the plot when she is noticed by the witch hunter. This puts the Amberwood family back on the hunter’s radar and Victoria formulates a plan to eliminate the hunter, including making Elijah fall for her so she can get closer to the father.
While both characters are morally grey, they both care greatly about their families. Victoria loves her brother, Caspian, and sister, Alex, along, of course, with Emberly, and their mother. On the other side is Elijah whose love for his brother, Corbin, is amazing yet complex. His relationship with his father is not straightforward which gives him a lot of inner turmoil. As the story is a duel-narration between Elijah and Victoria, the reader has a chance to see both sides of the story. There are a lot of backstories, motivations, and inner thoughts to explore for the characters themselves and the worlds of humans versus witches. As this is an enemies-to-lovers story, the chemistry and tension between the two characters shines on each page.
Elijah did take me a little longer to care about compared to Victoria, who I liked right away, but Elijah grew on me a lot and I was captivated by his character by the end. There is a lot of banter and witty exchanges between the two characters and I love the two of them getting to know the other. While Elijah and Victoria come from different worlds, they share many similarities with their complicated pasts and their wish to do what’s right. Each has both darkness and light within them, which mean each struggle with which one to listen to and pursue in a situation. As the story begins with a wish for vengeance, Victoria finds herself at a crossroads when Elijah turns out to be more than she thought. There is also Elijah who believes Victoria has one intention instead of her hidden one, which means that each character has to navigate these secrets in order to find a way to survive as a potential couple.
Overall, I loved this darker tale and it was a fantastic addition to the Embracing Darkness series. Rebecca’s writing works really well for my reading style. The writing is not as fluid right at the start compared to Spellbound for me, but it still worked well and I would easily re-read this story. The structure of the story made the novel a quick read as there was just enough detail without a reader feeling bogged down on multiple tangents or elements. I am thrilled that I was given an opportunity to read this novel and I would easily read more in the future! Thank you to Rebecca Garcia and her team for the chance to read this ARC!