Novella Review: The Ghost of Briardale (Five Magic Spindles)


About the Book:

Awaken the Magic!

Emma, a good-hearted midwife, rushes to warn a neighbor about the hired gunman headed to his ranch but can’t prevent the catastrophe in store for his daughter.

Palli, the prophesied daughter of a king, is fated to rescue her people from the destruction called forth by a vengeful priest.

Roselee, a ghost with a faulty memory, flits through the halls of an insane asylum in search of the mortal boy who can help her save the day. {{This is the one I’m reviewing!!}}

Arabella, a living spirit trapped in her own comatose body, helplessly watches from the realm of dreams as her usurping cousin plots to destroy her once and for all.

Tanza, a tomb raider on a distant planet, struggles to make a living and doesn’t need a long-lost prince to complicate her difficult life.

One way or another, these beauties have no intention of sleeping away their problems.

My Review:

I’ve been reading Fictionally, by Grace for some time now, and on her blog, she announced that she was chosen as a winner for the Five Magic Spindles contest, which was really exciting! And when she announced that she was looking for someone to beta/advanced review for her, of course I said yes!!

I was only required to review The Ghost of Briardale by Grace Mullins, so I wanted to write a post only about it, but a complete review of the entire book may come later.

The Ghost of Briardale is set in an asylum, with flashbacks to a time 500 years ago when the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ part alternating to the ‘present’ where the ‘curse’ is being ‘reversed’. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure about reading a story set in an asylum, period, but it ended up to be very well done and not shady/scary at all, which I appreciated.

Grace (living up to her name) has a really graceful way with the pen, and is able to paint descriptions of characters, places, and everything so beautifully and vibrantly! She wrote so incredibly descriptively and compactly (as in, a lot of plot, description, dialogue etc packed in very few words) that her ‘short story’ didn’t even seem to be that short! While I was getting ready to write this post, had a slight shock to see that it was technically a novella…

I like how finding a ‘True Hero’ was emphasized in the book and that people don’t act as they seem they would (which is ultra-cliche, but it still really true!).

Also…that evil fairy/queen/person…WAS. SO. EVIL. And I loved it!!!

I also enjoyed the main character, a ghost girl, who ended up to be different than I had expected!

Also…Slavering Swamp Beast –> adorable puppy….?! My heart’s melting. :3

As I’m writing this, I feel pressured to give it a positive review, because of all the stellar reviews that it has gotten already, but by being completely honest with myself,  I can’t say it’s now part of my GoodReads ‘favorites’ shelf.


Well…the setting didn’t completely agree with me. While I was pleasantly surprised at how non-violent/shady the asylum ended up to be, I still wouldn’t off-key say to my mom “Oh yeah, I’m now reading this book where they’re in an asylum”nor would I give the synopsis to either of my younger brothers (not that I would with any other book, but this one I wouldn’t give the plot).

Also because I have a hard time reading fantasy. Because I am a very ‘give me the facts’ person, I can’t wrap my head around fantasy very well and thus can’t easily love fantasy. It’s especially hard because the original setting wasn’t a fantasyfied land, then transitioned it to being magical, which was even harder for me to think about. This is just a personal reason, though, so I won’t particularly take off any points for this.


“I’ll need you to make your daring escape now, if you don’t mind, then follow me quickly.”

It was an intimidating structure, especially since it was . . . upside down? Panic almost seized Franz at this sight, but then he realized that it was he who was the wrong-side up.

“Maybe . . .” Roselee whispered even as the three Guardians […] stared at her with earnest dismay, “. . . maybe there’s more to being a hero than saving kingdoms and things. Maybe a True Hero needs a true heart . . .”

To be sure, they hadn’t much hope left. But sometimes a final, desperate hope is all that’s really needed . . .

RockandMinerals4Him Rating:


Final Remarks:

(Because Grace getting a blogpost all to herself equals me talking on and on about how good she is, right?) I really enjoyed getting an ARC of The Five Magic Spindles to read…it was a joy reading Grace’s debut work! And also, shoutout to Grace for running such a great blog that made me want to read it!




4 thoughts on “Novella Review: The Ghost of Briardale (Five Magic Spindles)

  1. Great review! I haven’t heard of this book before, but I’ll definitely have to keep it in mind! I will agree with you though; I have a difficult time reading fantasy as well because it is just so hard for me to get past the way my factual brain works.
    Thanks for sharing at the Grace + Lace Linkup!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s