Cliffton has been in drought for a decade and when a wizard arrives, bringing rain, he in return asks for Sydelle. She becomes Wayland North's reluctant assistant on his quest to prevent a war. But North doesn't just need an assistant. He has his reasons for choosing Sydelle, and his secrets and sworn enemies could be her undoing.
Fantasy romances were my staple as a teenager and I love the coziness of magic and quests and kings and queens. Working in fabric I also love the idea of magic that revolves around weaving, as it does in Brightly Woven. Such a beautiful cover, isn't it? That and the fact that it's by a debut author around my age meant that I had to order a copy from the States.
Brightly Woven is a charming read and the plot unfolded steadily with interesting characters and one or two small twists. It was probably the author's intention that several secrets could be guessed at, but there was still a nice surprise near the climax. I loved how everything suddenly came together. The execution was uneven, unfortunately. Some scenes were fleshed out and highly visible, but others felt rushed. The middle third was rather frustrating as a whole, with Sydelle (and the reader) being left out of key scenes, which resulted in a very side-kicky feel. Also in the middle third the romance felt forced and demonstrative rather than natural.
Brightly Woven rallied in the end with a lively climax and a very touching romantic finale. It was on the whole a charming read, and an auspicious start to Bracken's career as an author. I hope we see more from her in the future. Bracken has stated she's working on several projects and some of her fans have set up a petition for a sequel. I would certainly be keen on another story from this author set in the same world.