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Mary Watson Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Cutting Room (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Wren Hunt (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Mary Watson is a South African bestselling author of fantasy, young adult and literary novels. Ms. Watson was born in Cape Town, South African and graduated with a master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Cape Town. After graduating with a second master’s degree at the University of Bristol in 2003, Watson returned to Cape Town where she finalized her Ph.D. Between 2004 and 20008, Watson also worked as a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Cape Town. Mary Watson is a resident of Galway, Ireland since 2009.

Watson is famously known as the author of Moss, a short stories collection published in 2004. Her short stories have been featured in several anthologies. In 2006, Watson won the Caine Prize for her short story Jungfrau and was nominated for Rolex Protégé and Mentorship Programme in 2012. In 2014, Mary Watson was listed on the Africa39, a list of authors from sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 40 with the ability to define the trends in African culture.

The Wren Hunt

Every single Christmas, Wren is often chased in the woods near her town by her family enemies- and there is nothing she can do to stop it. A long time ago, her people, the Augurs had the power to control magic, but now that magic lies at the hands of the Judges- her family enemies- who are set to bring havoc to her family and destroy her kind once and for all.

In an attempt to save her family, she takes a dangerous covert mission- working as an apprentice to a prominent Judge named Casa Harkness. The Judge has spent most of her life researching on a transformative spell could end the war between the two opposing sides. Entangled in a web of deceit, Wren must choose whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal her people’s fate.

The Wren Hunt is a brilliant read from the award-winning South African novelist, Mary Watson. The storyline of this story is relatively complex, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the readers hooked to the last page. The Judges and the Augurs are both fighting each other in order to secure their powers and Wren being an Augur is sent to work as a Spy to earn the trust of the Judges, gains some valuable information about their next move and help restore her family magical powers. Wren’s undercover mission is a dangerous one if she is discovered not only it could be bad for her but also for her entire family. This is one of the aspects of the novel to keep every reader on the edge of their seat. The emotional writing aspect of the book is brilliantly done which adds to the ominous feel.

The characters in the story are wonderful and well crafted. Wren is the main character, and the story is narrated from her point of view. This is quite impressive because the readers get a glimpse of what she is feeling and also what she is thinking. The two other major character mentions include Cassa and Tarc. The characters are deliciously 3dimensional thus the readers get a deeper understanding of each character; there are so many layers of all the characters in the story from the main character to the secondary character.

The main character Wren is an orphan. She is immediately likable, for her beauty, courage, and knowledge as well. She lives with her grandpa in a small Irish town of Kilshamble. They are seers or augurs capable of reading the future in nature and patterns. However, due to her augur talent which makes her not a good fit, she is alienated from the rest of the community. However, despite of her circumstances, she is feisty and brave, focused on making a difference and above all fight for what she believes to be rightfully hers. She does not fear even when she knows that her mission could be compared to walking straight to into a nest of snakes, knowing that danger lurks on every corner.

The Augurs enemies are the Judges who are ruled by Calista Harkness, a wealthy heiress heavily guarded by a circle of young men- including young boys that hunted Wren in the woods. The judges have all the powers, leaving the seers/augurs magic weak. Their sources of power have either been used up or are on judge land. Desperate to have their equal share, the Augurs come up with a plan for our protagonist to infiltrate the heiress house to find a map that would eventually help them locate the stones of power. Wren takes her mission with gusto, but soon discovers more secrets than she had bargained for, as well as an unlikely ally in Harkness House.

Mary Watson’s vivid and beautiful prose brings this spell-bounding realm to life, and just like the main character Wren, the reader is equally enthralled the stellar spread of forest moss or a murmuration of starlings. It is a world where ancient practices exist alongside the contemporary day life, where everything has some meaning, and everything is connected.

The Cutting Room

When her beloved husband suddenly leaves home, Lucinda is left sad and puzzled. Where has her husband gone and why? In the months before Amir left, he seemed preoccupied and troubled, and their marriage had become tense and strained. Lucinda is worried that his departure could be all her fault. Immediately afterward, Lucinda is brutally attacked in a knife assault which tosses her even more off balance.

Searching for some composure, Lucinda finds a distraction in aiding an old friend, an Australian filmmaker Thomas with a film he is making about an ancient mission station that is allegedly haunted. However, the experience becomes an unnerving one for Lucinda who finds Thomas’s obsession with the story about his film worrying. As more tensions build up, so does the underlying mood of constant menace, until Lucinda is faced with a disturbing revelation.

The Cutting Room is a beautiful, thoughtful and exasperating story of loss and loneliness, guilt and longing, and the different ways in which different souls can be haunted.

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