SUCH a beautiful book. The writing itself was so lyrical and beautiful. Hester is such a lovable character and her relationship with Aaron is everything. This is a really lovely story. It was a bit slow at first but it really picked up.
This book is Beautiful. Just absolutely beautiful. I read this while recovering from surgery and let me to you no matter how tired I was, I wanted to keep reading.
The story follows Hester, and from the start we are made aware that she is different from those around her. She yearns to be a healer and seeks to do so through herbal practices. Her mother and brother do not like this snd they believe her to be a witch, and believe that forcing her to marry someone from town will help her settle and be normal. Marrying is not something that she wants, especially the person that her family has chosen for her.
At some point she meets Aaron who also knows a lot about healing with herbs and teaches her some things. Including the name of the River that continues to call out to Hester since childhood. The River’s name is Sabrina and she seems to be trying to guide Hester through life towards a goal.
I love that this isn’t just a happy go lucky whimsical story. The treatment of Hester during her time period is very realistic of what women went through back then. And the author did an amazing job of merging history with fantasy. 5/5 stars from me. Please grab a copy now!
Hester and her family live on a farm. Her mother is a seamstress who Hester helps sometimes. She is unlike the others in her family, she is not content with the farm life, she is called to the river. She wants to join the river nymphs. “Sabrina,” the water, calls to her. When Hester runs into a mysterious man who knows about herbal medicine, she wants to know more. She begins using plants to cure people and animals. Her dad tells her she is becoming like her grandmother. Her mom is furious she is messing with such things and demands she gets married. Will Hester do as her parents want or will she finally join the river like she always wanted?
River Witch was a good and very well written book!
Hester knows that she is different but nothing will stand in the way of her destiny. You’ll see her grow and go through all of the trials, tribulations, and sacrifices that she must live with. In the end, family does matter.
I did find the book to be a slow read up until about the middle, but in all honesty, it was written very well and I would recommend.
Cheryl Burman’s River Witch is a beautiful story, written for a multitude of readers who may be interested in the romance aspect, or the history, or mythology, or fantasy, or coming-of-age aspect. The story starts with a young Hester, a farmer’s daughter, who meets Aaron, a man skilled in herbal lore. The river goddess, Sabrina, and the nymphs, call to Hester, and we follow her journey as she makes sure neither her family or people she meets along the way will stop her from following her own path and achieving her dreams. Cheryl builds a world and describes it so perfectly it feels as if you are there.
This story is written beautifully. It’s quaint, gentle, but there’s something about it that hooks you in. The author gives you enough on each page to make you want to keep reading. The pages are filled with magic, bravery, and strength. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a bit magic and mystery.
Hester has heard all her life about how she’s not “ordinary people”. Most people don’t know that though. Hester has a strong desire to learn the ways of healing with medicinal herbs and poultices but it’s just not something that her momma would be proud of her for. Hester learns her great grandmother Ellen dabbled in medicinal herbs and that just fuels her even more.
Aaron is a mysterious man who is often not seen walking about. He tutors Hester. It’s when he mysteriously leaves that things start to become more difficult for Hester. Why did he have to go?
I loved this book! It was a fairly fast read and I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are very engaging and the story is quite interesting! There are a few twists and turns but ultimately, I just wanted Hester to get what she desired. I can’t wait to read more works from this new-to-me author!
This is a fantastic story. It will grab you and pull you in until the end. Story of courage, determination, and plenty of heart. I love the strong character’s and the descriptive scenes. The book will not disappoint you.
Hester’s story is intensely detailed. I loved the history added into the plot and all the different twists and turns that come about. The river Sabrina is mystical and very eerie and as Hester grows up she learns of its powers and how to heal others. The characters are well developed and the plot line is gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will be reading more by this author.
This is my first book by this author and what a starting point! River Witch is mystical, incredible, and completely engrossing from beginning to end. I love anything with witchy vibes and I’m beyond happy that I found this book.
Hester likes to talk to the river, Sabrina, and the river whispers back to her. As an 8-year-old, that doesn’t seem unnatural because kids have active imaginations. She meets Aaron, a gentleman who also talks to the river, and tells her the names and purposes of the plants around them. Hester’s mom does not approve of her daughter behaving like a witch and continues to try and mold her to a what a good wife should be. Hester refuses to accept this and looks to the river for guidance even as she grows older.
I am already looking up other books by Cheryl Burman because River Witch was marvelous and enchanting. I highly recommend picking this up and getting lost in the vivid imagery and intricately woven details that create this extraordinary story!
Reviewed by @shannlynn
Young Hester spends her days tending to the animals on her family’s farm and helping with chores that need to be done. The river, Sabrina, is her happy place, and she sneaks off to visit her whenever she can. Hester loves to listen to the river speak to her as Sabrina tells her to be wise, be strong and finds delight in watching the river nymphs dance. It was on one of these trips to visit Sabrina when she was a little girl that Hester met a young man named Aaron. He too could speak to the river and knew about the healing powers of herbs and flowers.
As Hester became older, she becomes more intrigued by this young man and wants to learn about herbal remedies so that she may help heal others as her grandmother had. She convinces Aaron to train her in secret because she knows that her mother would not approve of Hester learning something that she refers to as witchcraft. Hester knows that healing others with herbal remedies is what she wants to do with her life, but it seems that nobody wants that for her. Aaron has his own issues that he is trying to work through, so he feels that stopping the lessons is in Hester’s best interests. Hester begs and pleads with him, and he reluctantly agrees to continue helping her learn.
Hester’s mother has other plans for her and decides that she must get married and have children because that will settle her down. With the townsfolk gossiping about Hester and talk of her being a witch, her mom feels that she must get married immediately and arranges a marriage for Hester to an older, local fisherman. Knowing that this marriage will not be good for her, Hester flees to the only place she feels safe. She turns to Aaron for help, but he also feels that her getting married and leading a normal life is the best thing for her.
This book is loosely based on the true story of a woman in the early 20th Century who was trained in healing and accused of being a witch. The story contained many layers and was very well written with wonderful characters throughout. Hester was a remarkable young lady who was resilient, headstrong, determined and knew what she wanted. She would stop at nothing to get it, regardless of how much hardship she had to face to get it. Aaron had issues that he needed to resolve which made his character a bit hard to understand at times. It seemed he wanted to be Hester’s teacher but perhaps longed for more. Hester’s mom was another character that was a bit perplexing. She loved Hester and wanted the best for her but tried to force Hester into an arranged marriage to a man Hester loathed. However, when you think about the period this book was written in, it makes a bit more sense that reputation was important to the common class of the early 1900’s. That helps the reader understand that Hester’s mom really did feel that was the best choice for her daughter. A fantastic and haunting read!
Hester is a farmers daughter who lives with her parents and three brothers on a farm near the town off Shiphaven, she helps out with the chores on the farm and the sewing her mother completes to earn a little extra income, they are a happy family, but they do think that Hester has her head in the clouds, what they don’t know is that Hester can hear the river speaking to her and can see the nymphs as they ride in the waves, calling for her to join them. Aaron is a gentleman who lives on his own in a little cottage in the woods, near the river, it is further away from Shiphaven than the farm and has seen better days, but he is too tired and his spirit is too lacklustre to move anywhere else at this point thanks to events in his past which still haunt his memories.
One day, Hester is walking by the river and listening to her words when she meets Aaron, he explains that the river is a goddess and her name is Sabrina, he also tells her that not everyone can hear her and that they are special, not ordinary and that they are wise, he then walks Hester back to her farm. A few years later and Hester is quickly growing into a young woman, but the siren call of Sabrina and the nymphs one day drive her to where the river meets the sea, but Aaron stops her from joining them and gives her a gift to keep her strong and give her courage, he also tells her about the flowers and plants they see as they walk together, this sparks an interest in Hester that soon grown within her.
The next time Hester and Aaron meet, she insists that he tells her more about being a wise person and herbal lore and she won’t take no for an answer, especially as it is now a driving force in her to become a wise woman and not just settle for being an ordinary woman with a husband and children. However, when Hester tells her mother about what she would like to do, her mother scorns her decision and dismisses it as old wives tales and witchcraft, saying that no good will come of it, then when Aaron says he would be better off as ordinary, she is devastated and feels betrayed.
Will Hester be able to convince Aaron to help her fulfil this need to use the lore of the forest and fields to heal those who need it, or will he let the past overshadow the bright future this young woman has and will the river help or hinder his decision when she constantly tells Hester to “Be wise and be strong”? This is a fantasy tale of one young woman and her struggles to see her dreams become reality amid a turbulent and twisting path which will keep you reading until you know whether she succeeds or fails.
Reviewed by @roxsannel
A beautiful tale of the struggles of the women who don’t fit the mold and refuse to conform. This is the tale of Hester, and her connection to nature as she grows up. Her refusal to become what is expected of her by society, her family, and everyone in her life.
Burman manages to convey the despair, struggle, hope, and triumph that Hester and most likely so many women have gone through throughout the ages in their struggle to become more than the sum of what is expected of them. She manages to do this with grace in a setting that is burgeoning with beauty. There are so many characters throughout that, while secondary add to the story and make it so much more robust without being a distraction.
In short this book is a masterpiece and should be in collections everywhere.
Hester dreams of following in the footsteps of her great grandmother and becoming a respected herbal healer. Unfortunately, her mother has other ideas of marriage and babies to settle her wild heart.
With encouragement of strength and wisdom from the River, Hester’s journey has just begun.
This started slow for me and by the end I was mesmerised. The writing was beautiful. Hester’s strength and wild heart is gripping and I really enjoyed the magical elements and friendship in the story.
This book was different from anything I have read before. The story pulled me into an adventure of magic, heartache, character growth and so much more. This is the first book I have read by this author and I’m glad I gave it a chance. I found myself rooting for Hester as she goes through so much in her life. The further I got in the story the more I got pulled into it. While I’m reading I keep hoping love will win out and Hester can have everything she wants out of life. If you want to know how this turns out, this is a must read. I recommend this book.
River Witch by Cheryl Burman is a beautifully written story of a girl named Hester Williams, who at a very young age, is drawn into the waters by the song of the river and the playful river nymphs. It is there that she meets Aaron, a quiet young man skilled in herbal lore, who stops her from wading into the river to play with the nymphs. The story continues to follow Hester as she matures into a young woman that aspires to be a wisewoman, curing others of ailments with the healing properties of herbs and flowers with the knowledge Aaron has bestowed her. After she goes against the wishes and attempts of her mother to tame her by refusing to marry local fisherman Jem Stokes, Hester finds herself with limited places to turn to and a trail of tribulations ahead and left in her wake.
This was an absolutely magnificent read that I struggled to put down. I was captivated by the author’s beautiful and articulate writing, which fabricated this captivating tale. The characters were unique and fascinating, and they all came together perfectly to weave this story into something truly remarkable in my opinion. Everything was so well descripted that it was so easy to feel like I was in the story with them, witnessing everything unfold. I was honestly sad the story ended because I loved the main characters so much! While I might be crossing my fingers for another book in the future featuring all of them again, the closing of the story was perfect. I truly did not expect to love this book as much as I did. It has the perfect mix of a little bit of everything. If you ask me, it deserves all the stars!
Reading this book, it is very obvious that the author knows what they are doing with words. The imagery and detail in this book are wonderful. I found myself falling straight into Hester’s life and wanting to know more and more about Aaron and how their interactions unfold. It is not hard to picture this story in my mind at all. I love the ideas in this book, and can relate to Hester’s quest to find herself and do what she wants rather than what everyone else thinks she should do. This book has a great storyline, characters, and talented author. I will definitely be looking into more of their work. I very much recommend this book.
This story is based on a true story of a woman who is skilled in healing and is accused of witchcraft in the early twentieth century as a result of her skillset. The way that Cheryl Burman turned a tale from where she lives into a beautiful story is simply amazing. It is my first read by this author and definitely not my last as she has a way with words and crafting a remarkable story that begged to be read.
This story follows the main character Hester from the time she was a young girl to her adult years with the trials and events that she went through. As a daughter to a farmer she longs for more than the life she lives. It is in this young age she hears the river and its nymphs calling to her. A man named Aaron prevents her from entering the river and becomes her teacher in the healing arts. This is frowned upon. This is witchcraft…but this is her calling. Hester’s desire to forge her own path in life against the ideals of society has you rooting for her every step of the way. You simply cannot put down the book. Will Hester succeed in making her own destiny? Will the river that called her be a helper or a hindrance?
Hester’s story begins when she is a young girl. She is the daughter of a farmer and granddaughter to healer. When she hears the river and its nymphs talking to her, inviting her to come play, a man named Aaron stops her from going into the river. He too, can hear the river and her nymphs. Hester’s father often compares her to his grandmother with such fondness of tone, that she pursues Aaron and asks him to teach her how to use flowers and herbs to help heal people and animals. Unbeknownst to her family, she learns and excels in her pursuit of knowledge over many years. After a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to move to town, away from the river and its callings. Hester feels her soul withering because she is so far from the river and Aaron. Her mother and brothers set a scheme to marry her off to a fisherman to avoid any gossip surrounding Hester and her strange behaviours. All Hallow’s Eve changes everything for Hester, though. She determines to take control of her life. When she has to deal with the consequence of her actions, however, she finds that Aaron has left town, her wedding is looming, and she feels lost. She hears the river telling her to “Be strong. Do what you have to do.”So she does. She leaves the relative safety of her home and sets out on her own path. The challenges that she faces alone and overcomes is heartening and heartbreaking all at the same time. Can she make it alone? Will the river help her? Protect her? Or will it abandon her like she feels Aaron and her family has?
This is my first time reading this author. I truly enjoyed the story. I was drawn into the story almost instantly. The struggles of the time period were well written, as were the family dynamics and strife. I couldn’t help but love Hester and root for her. Once she knew what she wanted, she went for it and unapologetically pursued it. I was glad that everything came back around for her in the end and she felt the support of her community after feeling abandoned for so long. The fact that it is loosely based on a true story, only makes it that much sweeter of a read.
From the very beginning, Hester is a captivating character. Her willful spirit is admirable and she maintains those traits even when she goes through the hard times alone and her situation seems bleak.
The relationship between her and her mentor Aaron grows into something more as he teaches her how to make healing ointments and tinctures through herbal lore like her great grandmother before her once did. Hester’s mother sees this as silly folklore and suspicious witchcraft and tries to steer Hester towards a more “appropriate” craft. When Hester makes choices that have some ruinous consequences regarding the opinion of society, she’s left to face those consequences alone but not as alone as you might think.
There is a mystery throughout this book that leaves you with something to think about once it is finished. I still have questions; and yet, this book goes right into the top 5 of the best witchy vibe books with feminist themes such as self reliance and empowerment that I have ever read.
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61114095-river-witch” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img border=”0″ alt=”River Witch” src=”https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1656255452l/61114095._SX98_.jpg” /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61114095-river-witch”>River Witch</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20379239.Cheryl_Burman”>Cheryl Burman</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5022312909″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
If your into magic, potions, herbs and all the witchy stuff this is it for you.<br />Hester wants to learn to be a medicine woman like her grandmother. She learns the rivers and ocean have names. She learns what it will take to become like her grandmother. Truely touching and an emotional book. I loved every second.
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6813301-tori”>View all my reviews</a>
What a fantastic historical fantasy adventure! River Witch was captivating, intriguing and full of incredibly written content. The characters were enchanting and the overall plot was incredible.
Who could not relate to characters living in one manner but yearning for something more meaningful. It’s a coming of age type scenario that plays out beautifully throughout this book.
The author describes the forest, river, vivid dreams and characters, Hester & Aaron so well that you feel like you are truly inside of the story surrounded by their lives. I was highly impressed.
I believe most readers will thoroughly enjoy this read thanks to the author’s extraordinary gift. I can’t wait to see what else the author creates.
This story starts out letting the reader know that Hester is no ordinary girl, just like the river is no ordinary river. The river nymphs call to her to join them in the water, and she’s pulled away by a mysterious stranger before she can fall in. I love her wonderful description of the setting (I’m not sure of time and place) and character interaction within the text. Magical realism, history, folklore, green witchery, and adventure line the pages of this wonderful story!
Review by @bilberrysweet
Brandy Vaughn,September 2022
I could not put this book down! I love spooky and historical books and this book was fire! I could not wait to dive into the story, and I could not put it down. I cannot think of enough good things to say about this book. It was one that I read in one sitting as I needed to know what was going to happen! I cannot wait to tell my friends about this book and have them fall in love with this story as well.
From a young age Hester has always been different. She spends her time talking to the River. When she was only 4 years old, Hester met a strange man by the name of Aaron. He knows a lot about herbs and flowers and of their uses. He also can hear the voice of the river which is actually a goddess by the name of Sabrina.
Once Hester is older, her mind starts to wonder to the man she met years prior and of his knowledge. Her great grandmother healed the sick and hurt with her knowledge on plants and potions. Hester wants to be just like her. Hester decides to seek Aaron to teach her his ways. At first he is reluctant but once he realizes Hester will not stop until she gets her way, he decides to start lessons with her.
Hester’s mother has always been against natural remedies as it is seen as witch-like. She just wants Hester to be a normal lady, find a husband and birth his children. As Hester gets older, her mothers ambitions get stronger and Hester wants to flee the life her mother has laid out for her. She runs to Aaron only to find he agrees with her mother. He thinks it would be safer if they cease their lessons and Hester should go on to be a bride. This does not bode well with her and she decides to do everything in her power to get what she wants.
This book was not at all what I was expecting but in a good way. The synopsis doesn’t give this book justice. There is so much going on within the book and in different points of view which makes it even more interesting. I loved Hester, she was strong and independent (well as much as one could be in that day in age as a woman). She was determined and humble.
The only downfall for me personally is I found the book very repetitive. I found myself starting to read ahead when it started to say the same things which made immersing myself completely into the world hard.
River Witch by Cheryl Burman
This is the first book I’ve read by the author. River Witch had me hooked from the beginning and I didn’t want it to end. The characters were life-like and it really felt like I was standing in the same place as them.
Aaron has let one person down. He doesn’t want to do that to Hester. Then when he goes home he finds that he’s to blame. The quote I chose for Aaron is: “Your faith in me was wrong. I failed her, I wasn’t good enough, strong enough. When it came to the time… When the time came…when I should have followed her…I couldn’t… If there’d been two of us…if there’d been twice the power…”
Hester loves to listen to the river. She talks to the river and the goddess that resides there. Sabrina. That’s what they call the river. The quote I chose for Hester is: ‘If she wouldn’t come to me when I was birthing Ellen, when I truly needed her… The hurt runs deep and I’m sorry for it. I simply couldn’t do it, not for all the houses and feather mattresses in the world, I couldn’t marry that man.”
Highly recommended for Historical Witch lovers.
Hester is a farmer’s daughter who wants more out of her life. Hester meets Aaron who teaches her how to use herbs to heal. Hester is soon labeled as a witch by a man who feels he has been done wrong by her. She must save herself as well as others. This story drew me in more and more as I read it.
A beautifully written tale of magic and lore. We all hear tales from our perspective areas while growing up. Every place has at least one mystic tale. I love that this author took that and brought it to life. My great grandma was known as a “healer” when I was growing up, so some aspects of this story really hit home for me.
Hester is an ambitious girl, full of life and wanting more than just working on a farm. She is told stories by her father of a grandmother accused of being a witch because she would heal others with herbs. Hester hears the voice of the river, Sabrina, speak to her and finds herself wondering of the possibility of bringing that magic back and helping those that need it. She meets Aaron, who also speaks to the river and knows how to heal with herbs. Aaron has a dark past and is reluctant to help Hester, but does so at the insistence of Sabrina. Together they go on a beautiful journey of self discovery and growth.
This story flowed from the first page to the last. From darkness and heartbreak, to light and laughter, I felt it all as I was engulfed in the story. When I had to put the book down, I would find myself thinking about the characters, wondering what the pages would bring me next. This is definitely a beautiful read.
Well I like to find new authors and books that are not my usual genre. This book definitely fit the bill. I really enjoyed the authors world that she has created. I really enjoyed the way that the characters were written and how the story develops. I like the supernatural feel to the book.
The author does a great job of drawing the story inside of the reader’s mind. I really felt as though I was right there right beside them. I like how the book was well paced and drew me in. I will definitely read more from this author in future.
River Witch by Cheryl Burman – Review by Dessalynn Acosta
5 out of 5 Stars
This BOOK! I am going to add it to my favorite novels. Such a great story, and beautifully written characters, a lovely fairy tale type story. Young Hester has always been interested in healing and helping others with herbs and very drawn to the river, who’s name is Sabrina. Hester meets Aaron, a stranger who is in tune with his herbal practices, as they begin lessons in a cottage by the river, Hester finds more than knowledge. The river, Sabrina, guides and leads Hester through her life and some of the most dramatic occurrences, including being labeled a witch and being heartbroken, can Hester survive the persecution and isolation?
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