Title: Snow Dust and Boneshine (The Chronicles of Granny Witch #1)
Author: Grendolyn Peach Soleil
Publication date: December 27, 2020
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Western
One Sentence Summary: As the granny witch of Purgatory Bend, it’s Fawna’s duty to offer her aid and powers to help the townsfolk and to shepherd special souls to Heaven, but one special soul leaves her torn in two.
Grendolyn Peach Soleil is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. After falling in love with The Mermaids Melt at Dawn last year, I was more than happy to review Snow Dust and Boneshine. There’s such a beautiful, dreamy quality to her writing that just sends tingles down my spine. Even though I don’t read Westerns, I knew this was going to be much more than a Western. Magic pours out of every word, and the heart found within them is pure gold. I wasn’t wrong.
Spun Magic on the Prairie
Fawna is Purgatory Bend’s granny witch, a woman with incredible powers to make offerings in order to help people. But she can also see something called vespers, beings that are a different sort of ghost, and it’s her duty to lead them across the prairie to the trapdoor that opens to Heaven during the Rose Moon.
Patrick, due to his brother’s recklessness, winds up seriously injured in Purgatory Bend and Fawna takes him in as winter settles across the prairie. There’s a special bond between him and Fawna, but Fawna knows she’ll have to say good bye. Patrick isn’t meant to stick around and she’s determined to not have her heart broken.
With both Patrick and Fawna torn between the desire to stay and the need to go, will they be able to make the right decision when the time comes?
Seriously, Snow Dust and Boneshine reads like a dream. The story flows so perfectly that the reader knows what needs to happen, but also feels their heart break at the same time. The writing is gorgeous, both managing to capture the essence of a Western and spinning it into something more at the same time. See? I knew it was going to be so much more than a Western and I knew I was going to love it! There’s magic in the words just as there is magic on the prairie.
Perhaps one could say it’s too dreamy or it’s too easy, especially when a former love interest walks back into the picture, but doesn’t cause any big waves. But I think that’s the beauty of this book. The story doesn’t need or want any additional tension; there’s plenty given already, which was wonderful because it really focused on the story at hand.
The story is gorgeous in a way I can’t describe. It’s a story of star-crossed lovers and a story of lifelong love. It’s the story of a woman who only wants to help the souls of the people who come to her for help. It’s the story of a man learning to cope with the inevitable and the tug between that and his heart’s desire. Spun together, Snow Dust and Boneshine presents a magical story that’s soft around the edges, but full of rich colors in the middle.
Full of Life
Every one of the characters breathed with life. They created a rich tapestry of children born to the prairie and people who came from over the sea searching for a new life. I know very little of what life in the old wild West was like, but I got the sense of what it might have been like from every character. It was in the way they spoke and moved, the way they cared about each other, and in the superstitions they held.
I loved everything about Fawna and Patrick. They were a tender couple where you could feel the barriers falling away as winter ebbed and flowed. Fawna was sassy and so self-assured, but even she had her weak moments. She carried a lot of love, care, and understanding in her bones and felt every inch like a magical woman. Patrick had no choice but to be caught up in everything that she was, but I got the feeling he did it willingly. At his core, he really is a good man and incredibly respectful. I got the sense that he smiled easily and felt deeply, but was particularly good at moving with the flow.
The characters really breathed life into the story. They brought it to life in my mind and I felt I could see them move around, even if they weren’t directly in the scene but instead moving around the fringes. Even the animals had delightful characterizations and almost felt human to me. Together, they all brought the story and the world to life, taking me back in time and wondering at what might be possible.
The Wyoming Prairie
Snow Dust and Boneshine is listed as a Western, so of course it’s set in the Wild West, though it also draws on the magic of Ireland. I know very little about the old West, so can’t comment on the accuracy, but I felt like it pulled me into what I thought it would be like.
Soleil has a very unique way of writing, a distinct style that blends description into flowery prose that doesn’t read like flowers, but instead like magic. There’s incredible consistency that’s just gently woven into the entire fabric of the story that constantly whispers magic and the old West. Even without detailed descriptions, I could imagine the dirt roads, the layers of snow, the looming woods that were full of enchantment, and the charming and quaint houses that were also quite practical. At once, the writing is gorgeous, but also practical, deftly and solidly weaving it’s spell from beginning to end, crafting a world and prairie full of wonder and the very real worries and fears of the Wild West.
Like I said, I can’t comment on the accuracy, but I did feel like I was transported to what I like to think the prairie was like all that time ago. It was beautifully done in so many ways that I found absolutely zero faults with the world building and the story that worked so well hand in hand.
A Beautiful, Magical Western
Just like in her first novel, Snow Dust and Boneshine lulled me into a fairy tale. There’s magic and regular life woven directly into the fabric of the story. Everything about it is beautiful and lyrical and I loved that the story came to life so vividly in my mind. It perfectly combined the supernatural with what regular, ordinary life on the prairie might have been like to build a world and story that reads like a dream. Overall, this was a huge pleasure to read and absolutely spun it’s spell around me.
How many cups of tea will you need?
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Thank you to Grendolyn Peach Soleil for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.