Book Review: The Captain’s Witch by Karen DeMers Dowdall

Before getting into today’s review, I want to share a little bit about the author, Karen DeMers Dowdall. I met the author online via our websites; you can view hers here. She comes from quite an interesting background and is very friendly in her posts and comments on other blogs. Let’s learn a little more about her…

About the Author

Karen DeMers Dowdall was born in New England and spent her elementary-grade school years in Granby, Connecticut. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, master’s degree in clinical research nursing and a PhD in Clinical Nutrition.

Karen is also a lover of ballet, jazz, ballroom dance, contemporary dance, and has had her own dance studio. She also has directed and choregraphed stage productions, fashion shows, and designed clothing for stage productins. Karen loves to swim. She was once an ocean lifeguard during the summper seasons in college, loves scuba diving, water skiing, and snow skiing. She loves to visit art museums and historical places.

K. D.  has written songs, poetry, short stories, and now several fiction novels; a middle-grade fantasy adventure story with two books to follow as a series, a historical mystery/murder with a dash romance and a third fiction, a mystery thriller with light romance.  She is currently writing a historical time-slip novel.

Along the way, it has been her good fortune to live in the Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and England. Each culture she experienced reinforced her belief that all cultures are rich in storytelling to explain their human hopes, dreams, struggles, and life experiences; often told in magical fantasy presentations.

Overview of Book (s)

Lost in the Annals of Time: A Story of Love and War
The Captain’s Witch is a hauntingly beautiful story of love that transcends time. Sara Windsor Knightly, born into a family with generations of witches inherits Windsor Manor, a colonial era manor built in 1680. She had no idea that the Manor is haunted by Jacobite ghosts, and a ghost named Christian Windsor. He is a gentleman farmer who is also a Captain in the British Brigade in the year 1690 in Colonial Connecticut during King William’s war with the French and the Abenaki Indians. To complicate matters, the White Oak Tree on the property of Windsor Manor, is haunted by the ghost of Alice Windsor Hall. The White Oak Tree was once a sapling on the grave of Alice Windsor Hall, one of Sara’s distant relatives who was falsely accused of witchcraft in 1690. Alice has haunted the White Oak for more than 300 years and she has plans of her own that sets everything in motion. Alice spins a spell that sends Sara and Christian to the year 1690 to save her little girl, Clara, from the hands of Reverend Baron Warwick, a Puritan Zealot who has diabolical plans for the child. Alice promises to return Sara and Christian back home as soon as Clara is safe from harm. Alice’s promise sends Christian back to war and certain death. A brokenhearted Sara is sent back to the present day to Windsor Manor. Sara is, quite by accident, sent once more back in time to revisit a very different Christian, who has no memory of Sara, putting her in great danger of being accused of witchcraft.

You Know You Want To

My Review

The Captain's WitchThe Captain’s Witch by Karen DeMers Dowdall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Captain’s Witch is the first book I’ve read by Karen DeMers Dowdall. It was published in August 2019 and falls into the fantasy and historical fiction genres. I was initially interested in the novel because it focused on witches, and since the Halloween season is upon us soon, I am reading books to get me in the mood for all the fun and spooky emotions it will conjure.

The tale alternates between 1690 and 2019, showing what happened to a few witches back in Puritan times and how several are living today, in modern Connecticut. Sara Windsor, the main character, is a mid-20s single woman who inherited a home from a distant relative, then converted it into a b&b. She knows there are ghosts in the attic, but they won’t speak with her, until one day, Christian seems to re-inhabit his human force — except he’s a 1690s Scot trying to understand 2019 customs. Sara tries to help Christian, but time keeps forcing them to change locations and periods. We come to learn another witch, Alice, is using them for personal reasons regarding her daughter, Clara. When Sara is brought back to 1690s Colonial America, she must learn to adapt and protect herself from being burned at the stake.

The book is quite easy to read, and that’s in part to the wonderful balance of words and imagery created by the author. Though we read dialog using words and expressions from the 17th century, it’s easy to pick up on and understand. It’s clear that the author has taken care and time to immerse her readers in a setting many of us might be unfamiliar with. Between the clothes and personal hygiene habits, we’re quickly dropped into major differences and new expectations. It creates a strong atmosphere to just let yourself be whisked away by the tale into a place from long ago where societal boundaries dictated your every move.

The supporting characters are vivid: Lucy, a woman turned into a cat; a Puritanical reverend hell-bent on ridding society of witches; and a stranger who visits the b&b and seems to know more than he should. How do they all fit together? Which force, good or evil, will win? Dowdall tosses several curveballs and employs tight emotions and a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor to convey the story in its entirety. I enjoyed the sparks it created and found myself drawn quickly into the plot and themes.

While a good portion of this leans toward the romantic, it’s not sappy or overly lovey-dovey. There’s sexual chemistry, tender moments, and romantic bliss, but it’s not at the forefront. At its heart, there is a control for power at play, and a suspenseful seesaw of what time period will everything conclude in. I liked the ending, and it brought the story together on multiple levels. Overall, it was a fantastic introduction to the author’s style and writing tone. I look forward to reading more in the future.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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24 comments

  1. James, what an incredible review of my historical fantasy novel, The Captain’s Witch. You succinctly captured all the relevant aspects and key emotions that motivated me to write this novel in the first place. I wanted to know what it would feel like to be a Witch during those dangerous centuries long ago. The most difficult decision was to use the Scots language, but it was necessary to give the book a true time and place. I can’t thank you enough. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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