Review of River Magic by M. A. Phillips, book one of The Rituals of Rock Bay (2020) Shadow Spark Publishing
First, what I like:
I want to say right from the start that I really like this book. It has a kind of ebullience and innocence about it that is really charming. The protagonist, though imperfect, as we all must be, has an integrity that guides her actions, and a passion for life that goes beyond herself and her friends, to the beings, sometimes familiar, sometimes frightening, that dwell in the world around her. It also deals with something I haven’t seen represented much in fiction: The coming of age of a modern Neo-Pagan woman.
Lacey Moran has explored Paganism with her friend Lidia since their school days, but she hasn’t really found her spiritual home. When Lidia opens a metaphysical store in their village of Rock Bay (situated along the beautiful Saint Lawrence River – a visit there is now on my bucket list), a group of modern Druids book the space for their Imbolc ritual. This ritual introduces Lacey to the goddess Brigit, and a connection is made immediately. (Hurrah! This is why I decided to read and review this book.)
Lacey has also had cryptic dreams of a mermaid in the river. Coming from a family with a talent for premonition, Lacey knows that many of her dreams foreshadow events to come. Do these?
Now, I have completely left out the other main theme of this book: the love that Lacey has for her longtime friend, Cian, and her conflicting feelings about becoming romantically involved with him. Cian is a feature of these dreams, making them more concerning to her. What do they mean?