Book Reviews, YA book reviews

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Five Stars

RELEASE DATE:  15 October 2020

Format: E-Arc

Publisher: Little Brown Book  Group

Source: NetGalley

Blurb

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.

1

Review

Thank you to Little Brown Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!

“You think there’s witchcraft hidden in pat-a-cake songs? Secret spells in the tale of Jack and the Giant?”……. “Maybe so…”

If you’re here hoping to find another incredible witchy read, you are in the right place.  The Once and Future Witches is so perfectly written, with an atmosphere that pulled me right into 1893, the age of suffragists, whispered witchcraft passed down through generations and a time when women had very little power in a man’s world.  One of my absolute favourite things was the witches using nursery rhymes and old stories to practice magic.  It lent such a haunting quality to the story, as well as giving a bit of familiarity to the ways of the witch.

Juniper, Agnes and Bella are estranged sisters, until they are drawn together by strange magic, and forced to put past hurts behind them.  The city is in turmoil – the women’s movement is doing what they can to secure the right to vote, there are fears another plague is around the corner, dark shadows creep where they shouldn’t and witches are blamed for every misfortune that befalls New Salem.  Juniper is sure the women’s movement can be turned into a witch movement, if only they can reclaim the lost ways of their ancestors.  But the quest will cost the sisters more than they ever imagined.

The character development of all three sisters (and even other wonderful side characters, such as Cleo and August) in this book was nothing short of brilliant.  Alix Harrow has such a magical way with words and I was swept along, completely enchanted by a story that was gritty and dark beneath such beautiful prose.  Not only did we get a bewitching read, the author skilfully wove in many forms of diverse and inclusive characters, that didn’t feel out of place at all in a book set so far in the past.

I would highly recommend getting your hands on this book, especially if you’re looking to cram in some more perfectly witchy reads during the spooky season!

Image from my Instagram account

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