Book Review: The Awakenings (Sarah Maine). #TheAwakenings #NetGalley

I received a copy of The Awakenings by Sarah Maine from NetGalley. The blurb of the novel intrigued me from the start. The book is set in 1890 in Yorkshire. This historical and fantasy fiction centers on the characters of Olwen Malkon and Dr. John Osbourne.

Olwen has suffered a tragic loss recently; losing her brothers and father in quick succession. An heiress to Swindale Hall, yet she is forced to live with her Uncle, his wife, and two sons, for a few months. Olwen has strange dreams, and she feels like she is losing her mind. Once she refuses to enter the church with her Uncle’s family, and there is a commotion. Dr. John Osbourne has recently moved into the village and taken up the predecessor’s practice.  When Olwen refuses to enter the church and has a panic attack, John steps in to help.

Olwen’s Aunt and Uncle are more worried about what the parishioners say than her. John sympathizes with her and tries to understand what she thinks. She finds comfort in him, and then the lines of reality start blurring. The novel is set in two timelines – one is in 1890 and the other centuries ago. The dreams Olwen has about herself in a different time are actually true.  These visions of the past start intensifying, and Olwen and John are in danger. I loved how the two timelines seem to blend into each other seamlessly. It added so much character to the story.

Olwen starts having these visions while she is awake and slowly, John does too. Sarah Maine has combined history and fiction. The turbulent times in the history of Northumbria and what little facts are known about the reign of AElfward are brought together with fiction which is extremely interesting. John and Olwen are reincarnations of a Princess and a warrior Prince whose story ended in tragedy when they were separated and betrayed. I liked how it is suggested that this is not the first time Wyn and Heri have been born, but this is the first time they are able to find happiness with each other. All of this blends historical fiction with fantasy, and it keeps you intrigued to know what happens next.

The characters are great. It is not an easy road for them with Olwen’s Uncle and his family having betrayed her and treated her horribly. John is punished for stepping out of line to help her. All the trials they have to face; make their ending well-earned and deserved. There is a lot that is unsaid between Olwen and John, which is different from Wyn and Heri.  Although they are aware of how they feel, it is never explicitly stated to each other.

The Awakenings is the first novel I have read written by Sarah Maine. I enjoyed the writing style. As I said, it does well to keep both timelines separate and then merge them effortlessly when the time comes. It is a different type of romantic fantasy than I expected, but in the end, I liked it.

*Click on the book cover above to get a copy.

Author: Aarti Athavle

Daydreamer - Writer - Bibliophile

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