Title: Burning Castles
Author: M. Rickert
In: Under My Hat (Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Witches
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s important not to be late.
Young Marissa believes her mother is a witch, but she also thinks her mother is lying to her about certain things. What Marissa believes to be memories of the past keep intruding on the present. As they go to meet the elderly mother of her mother’s boyfriend, some things come to light that may change everything.
This was kind of a dark short story. Especially compared to the majority of the others throughout the Under My Hat anthology. Most of the stories were humorous, cute and left me smiling. This story didn’t so much leave a smile as a look of bewilderment on my face when I turned the last page.
One of the things that I did love about this story was the fact that sometimes the most fake individuals actually end of creating the real thing. In this case, the witch who constantly talks about her past lives has a daughter who is plagued by dreams of her past life. Which just leads to a multitude of problems in their relationship, and the fore mentioned bewildered feeling.
Past lives and reincarnation is a cornerstone of many beliefs, including Wicca (modern day witchcraft). So I loved the way in which it was played with throughout this story. The smell of fire and smoke is representative of murder, and the smell of the mother has a lingering double meaning when you close the last pages on this slightly twisted (but very enjoyable) story.
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