In the spirit of continuing with my effort to read atleast one book a month, I was sent a digital copy of Watersmeet by Rachel Cotterill to read and review. Watersmeet (is the first of a series centred around the Twelve Baronies) is the tale of the protagonist, Ailith, who is informed of her innate magical abilities by a mysterious elder, Malachi. Magic is heresy under Temple Law, with a penalty of death, and thus begins Ailith's wonderful secret adventure to self-discovery through self-assessment and experimentation. I can't lie, I found it very difficult connecting with the plot, and that will be reflected in my somewhat lacklustre review, but I will endeavour to shed light on its themes, etc nonetheless in true BLEURGH fashion.
Dumming Down - What I found particularly interesting was the fact Ailith lived in a patriarchal society where female literacy was unheard of. A woman's sole focus - akin to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ladies - was to be married off to a suitable suitor, and live a submissive life as a wife. Ailith is the rebel who was taught to read and write by her somewhat-feminist grandmother, but must keep it a secret in order to be socially accepted. When this issue first crops up, its interesting to note that Ailith also conceals her intelligence so as not to appear more intelligent than her male counterparts, which is an idea that is still evident today. While in Nigeria, afriend of mine informed me that her entire department were deterring her from returning to the States to pursue a Masters degree, for fear of capping her marriage eligibility criteria. Nonsense! The fact that we still live in an age where it's advised to dumb down so as not to intimidate a man is just...dumb! Surely, your likely match will challenge you in all realms; intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually...etc.
Lunch & Cruise along River Thames - City Cruises
Familial Detachment - I found Ailith's relationship with members of her family somewhat interesting. She is drowned in a big somewhat gypsy-like family, and although the book commences with petty sibling squabbles and personality differences, its clear there's an air of love and affection customary of traditional collective cultures. I grew up in a similar household where my siblings and I were pitted against one another by my parents, yet, inspired one another to achieve our very best. Cheerleaders and competitors, if you will. In this age where competition is feared and stigmatised, I believe an upbringing in such environments is imperative to instil the right drive to achieve great goals from an early age.
Love, Lost & Found - I liked the romantic twist in the tale and how it didn't fall into the predictable mould. Sometimes love stares you right in the face, and other times its in the oddest of places, and I found the book perfectly depicted the nature of love. I will leave that topic to speak for itself as I'm still a learner and cannot claim to be an expert. Watch this space.
"It can only [work] when you add your intention to it. Know how to project your intention" Watersmeet