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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Birch: A Witch Tree is a work of fiction in the paranormal fantasy sub-genre, and was penned by author Jennifer Hotes. The work is suitable for the general reading audience, but it does contain some mild sexual references and moments of horror and dark fantasy that younger readers may find distressing. Our central character is Megan, who has left her small-town upbringing behind to achieve a better life in the great wide world. But when the sudden death of her father, Preacher, brings her home, old memories surface of the birch tree where he died and the witch whom Megan made a pact with on that same spot many years ago.
Author Jennifer Hotes captures a stunning moment of small-town horror in her dark novel Birch. In terms of craftsmanship, the plot creation and pacing are second to none, with clever use of flashbacks to weave a tapestry together that slowly builds the story and gives readers new surprises along the way. I enjoyed the post-mortem development of Preacher’s character and how my perception of him changed. Throughout the story, Megan’s growth - based on what she researches and experiences - creates a fully formed woman you feel for on a deep level. All of this ramps up those final few chapters, leaving readers on the edge of their seats as we wonder who the real witch is and what will come of those dark dealings done in the shadows of that fateful tree. Overall, I would highly recommend Birch to readers who enjoy dark paranormal fiction and fantasy horror: an unmissable read.