FeaturedMagical Realism

River Witch


Loved it! 😍

Tired of sitting helplessly while innocents and loved ones lose their lives, Hester follows a goddess's call and risks all to change fate.

Hester is a diligent farmer's daughter in all ways but one: she can't quit talking to the river.

Rather, the river won't quite talking to her. Sabrina, that is--the goddess whose form makes up the river.

River Witch follows young Hester's heart-wrenching growth from a pure-hearted, innocent child who cannot stand the injustice of death (especially when she feels she has the power to change it, thanks to a legendary healer's lineage) to an adult wrapped in all the complexities of a cruel, convoluted world.

Seeking freedom for herself (and her heart) after an arranged marriage is proposed, fighting against social stigmas and unfounded prejudices, and in the end embracing who she truly is (both good and bad), Hester is a courageous young woman with a powerful story to tell.

I adored the fact that a platonic friendship in this story is what 'saves the day' in so many instances. There is no love at first sight for Hester, but their is an unconditional love from a friend that transcends any romance. (Don't be too discouraged if you're a romance reader, though. There are still romantic subplots to be had.)

Burman brings to life the extraordinary power of what women who cease competition with each other and instead band together in respect, love, and good will can accomplish. The story is powerful and gripping, tackling hard themes such as estrangement from family, the harsh reality of not 'fitting in', and the worst aspects of superstitions in a way that is raw enough to pierce the heart, while being hopeful enough to make you need to keep reading more.

The only reason this is not a solid 5-star review is because of some formatting errors within the text, where two different scenes appear verbatim at different places in the same chapter, as well as some recurring editing things. This book is definitely worth putting up with a couple repeated scenes to read, though.

In a sweeping fantasy world, with magic and wives' tales entwined, Burman's The River Witch will challenge the way readers look at 'normalcy' and gossip while encouraging the best of what makes us human. A truly magical read!

Reviewed by

I am a USA Today Bestselling author and developmental editor with 10+ years of experience. I am a huge fan of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, J.R.R. Tolkien, Clare B. Dunkle, and Timothy Zahn. I also enjoy indie works by Nicole Wells, Andrei Saygo, and Luke Courtney.


About the author

Cheryl Burman is a UK based multi-genre author with six novels and a slim collection of flash fiction, many of which have won awards, to her name. She is the chair of Dean Writers Circle and a founder of Dean Scribblers, which encourages creative writing among young people in her community. view profile

Published on September 09, 2022

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Magical Realism

Reviewed by