Books,  Reviews

The Once and Future Witches

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Synopsis

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

Review

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Fantasy, LGBTQ, Alternate History, Magic
HB&W Rating: 4
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The concept for this book is so great. I love the alternate history of the U.S. that Harrow has created with this story under the premise that witches and magic are real and what extremes people will go to under the auspices of moral Christian zeal. It stripped away all of the layers and revealed that people are historically motivated by power and that sometimes the most corrupt are those whose power is tied to religion.

I loved how detailed and real each of the three sisters were. Their strengths and weaknesses were on full display and the author didn’t shy away from showing their flaws. I felt like they could be any real person off the street, albeit from about 100+ years ago, but still.

I loved that this book was all about empowering women, showing understanding and empathy instead of condemning women who didn’t feel the same way, and really, just all-around supporting other women in whatever way they allowed themselves to be supported. There was some great rep here as well, LBGTQ, single parenthood, and non-toxic masculinity, all handled sympathetically and compassionately, revealing the very real struggles of those characters as they come to grips with how others perceive them and how they perceive themselves. I really loved this!

I also loved all the nursery rhymes that were tweaked from what we know today and used a spells between chapters. It added to the atmosphere of the story quite nicely, driving home how much magic can be found in even the simplest and most humble of places.

If I had one complaint, it is that parts of the story really dragged for me. Listening to the audiobook usually helps with this type of thing, but even that didn’t do it with this one. Still, I’m glad I hung in there because it really was a lovely book. If you enjoy feminist lit, witchy reads, and are looking for your next of either, pick this one up!

Until next time,

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