Bea’s Witch by Daniel Ingram-Brown

Book Review by Jane Teather.

Daniel Ingram-Brown is the author of The Firebird Chronicles series for children aged 9-12, published by Our Street Books. He is the recipient of the Taner Baybars award for original fiction in the field of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Magical Realism, awarded by the Society of Authors Authors’ Foundation. Daniel is currently undertaking a PhD at Leeds Beckett University exploring adoption through creative writing and is also part of the university’s Storymakers Company, who seek to develop creative, artistic, child centred learning opportunities for young people through story making in educational and community settings.

Daniel is a First Story Writer-in-Residence for secondary schools in Yorkshire, he chaired the Leeds Big Bookend Festival from 2013-16 and is on the committee for the Society of Authors, Authors North. He is also a theatre director and playwright and is Artistic Director of Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre. Daniel has overseen a number of community writing projects, including The Leeds Story Cycle (2014) and Stories from the Forests of Leeds (2015/6), both of which resulted in the publication of a book of short stories. He lives in Yorkshire, UK.

The future can be rewritten.

Aimed at a young adult readership, Bea’s Witch is adoption fiction crossed with magical realism and historical fiction. On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Beatrice Crosse runs away from her adoptive home only to encounter the ghost of England’s most famous prophetess. The witchoffers her treasure, but can she be trusted? Bea must wrestle her past to discover the witch’s secret and find her way home.

A deft blending of historical, fantasy, contemporary and adoption fiction. I was genuinely transported. Dr Rachel Connor, Novelist and Dramatist

Bea is 11 going on well 12 and is struggling with big changes in her life. She has gained a new mother and a new school but feels she has to leave all her old life behind because Bea has just been adopted after several years in care. On a trip to see Mother Shipton’s Caves with Denise, her new mother, Bea has a strange experience and thinks she can hear a voice talking to her. Unthinkingly she takes a coin from the wishing well and feels a strong connection to it. But is Bea being haunted by Mother Shipton or her own demons?

I didn’t want to put this down. I felt so much of Bea’s pain, her unwillingness to trust because she has been let down so many times and her own certainty that because of things she has done in the past, that she is unlovable. I really liked the glimpses of the past that have brought Bea to this point: Nelson, the poster and the warm day on the dock. And ultimately I liked Bea and like Denise, just wanted to give her a hug.

Although this is clearly a standalone novel I would now like a story about Bea and her new and old circle of friends, where she just is adopted, not that that is the centre of the story. I want to know more of what happens to Bea next. Nicely done, Daniel!

Follow Daniel on: Facebook or Twitter

Jane Teather, is an adopted child and parent to two unadopted children of her own. She is a member of Hatfield Book Club.

Bea’s Witch is due to be published by Lodestone Books 30th July 2021. Pre-order here.

Thank you to Lodestone Books for the review copy.

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