The Shari'a Witch, Brierley, has been hiding by leading a normal life. She works as a healer for the villagers, who gratefully accept her and her wonderful gift. When Brierley witnesses an act of brutality from one of the nobles, she foolishly acts in his presence and becomes accused of witchcraft.
Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea by Diana Marcellas is a lovely tale of perseverance, bravery, and discovery.
The writing of Brierley's daily life is standard; however, when vision and dream sequences come into play, the author's style is poetic. Detailed descriptions of sand and caves along the ocean, the call of gulls, and weather draw the reader in. As there are no clear transitions between Brierley's regular senses and witch sense, it can be confusing at first; however, I found it easy to slip into once I figured it out. While the communication with her ancestors can often be a bit bland, the battles with the beast, and her exploration of the other world is fascinating. Even though the author decides to employ the standard "four elements" magic, she makes them her own.
Brierley is a respectable character, who is focused on her duty to heal people. Her overall attitude toward life and the world is fully realized through the first portion of the novel, due to her constant pondering. Around the time of Brierley's arrest, the author seems to lose hold of the character's personality. Suddenly Brierley gets a tart tongue and a blithe attitude toward her arrest and possible death. Thankfully, the heroine soon returns to her previously established personality and continues to develop in a natural manner.
I liked and took interest in many of the characters who appear throughout the novel, especially Megan. I wasn't too impressed with how the romance portion of the book went, though. A noble who takes her under his protection ends up falling in love with Brierley. Because the author doesn't describe either of the characters' feelings toward each other throughout the novel, their eventual coupling is just strange.
Brierley's discovery of her ancestry, development of new-found powers, and the hinted political intrigue may leave many readers eager for more.
Books in the series:
Sea Lark's Song
Twilight Rising, Serpent's Dream
Singer from the Sea by Sherri S. Tepper
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley