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The Once and Future Witches: The spellbinding bestseller Kindle Edition
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
'Glorious . . . a tale that will sweep you away' Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger
'A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women' Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer
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 three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten 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 must 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.
Praise for The Once and Future Witches:
'A brilliant dazzle of a book . . . I devoured it in enormous gulps, and utterly loved it' Kat Howard, author of The Unkindness of Ghosts
'Compelling, exhilarating and magical - a must-read' Booklist (starred review)
'Delightful . . . a tale of women's battle for equality, of fairy tales twisted into wonderfully witchy spells, of magics both large and small, and history re-imagined' Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
'A love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history' Publishers Weekly
'A breathtaking book - brilliant and raw and dark and complicated' Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
About the Author
A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women. The characters live, bleed, and roar. I adore them, and long for witchcraft to awaken in all of us. Harrow makes it feel possible, and even likely.--Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author
A radiant masterpiece of pure storytelling magic! Meet the Eastwood Sisters and prepare to take the best book vacation you will have in a long time.--Gwendolyn Womack, USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller
Previous praise for Alix E. Harrow:
A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting. --Christina Henry, national bestselling author of Lost Boys and Alice on The Ten Thousand Doors of January
One for the favorites shelf... Here is a book to make you happy when you gently close it. Here you will find wonder and questions and an unceasingly gorgeous love of words which compasses even the shape a letter makes against a page. --NPR Books on The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Harrow has created a gorgeous world of magic that is at once familiar and startlingly new. With lush writing and a sense of wonder, The Ten Thousand Doors of Januaryexamines power, progress, and identity. It is an adventure in the best and grandest sense. --Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation
A love letter to imagination, adventure, the written word, and the power of many kinds of love. --Kirkus on The Ten Thousand Doors of January
A magical, spellbinding saga... A fantastical journey of self-discovery that reveals the true power of our imagination. --Women's World on The Ten Thousand Doors of January
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is both whimsical and smart, using engaging writing and a unique plot to touch on serious topics. Harrow's debut reads like a love letter to the art of storytelling itself, and readers will be eager for more. --Booklist
A breathtaking book-brilliant and raw and dark and complicated. It's also, to be blunt, uncannily relevant.--Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
A brilliant dazzle of a book. This story of sisters and witches, memory and power cracked open my heart and set down roots there. I devoured it in enormous gulps, and utterly loved it.--Kat Howard, author of An Unkindness of Ghosts
A love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history.--Publishers Weekly
Drawn from folklore and history, -Harrow's lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily -forgotten.--Library Journal (starred review)
The magical tale of imperfect heroines, fractured sisterhood, and shadowy undying villains you never knew you needed. Alix Harrow crafts a delightfully bewitching story with familiar but ingeniously recrafted histories and deft worldbuilding as rich as the prose that leaps off the page. This book is an amazing bit of spellcraft and resistance so needed in our times, and a reminder that secret words and ways can never be truly and properly lost, as long as there are tongues to speak them and ears to listen.--P. Djèlí Clark, author The Black God's Drum
This is a delightful, satisfying novel, a tale of women's battle for equality, of fairy tales twisted into wonderfully witchy spells, of magics both large and small, and history re-imagined. All of it is told in Alix Harrow's exquisite language and with her vivid characterizations-a great pleasure to read.--Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
This novel cleverly connects the dots between the suffragist movement of the past to the Me Too movement of today. Compelling, exhilarating, and magical, The Once and Future Witches is a must-read.--Booklist (starred review) --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B082NMPJWW
- Publisher : Orbit (13 Oct. 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 3599 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 529 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 6,625 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 July 2021
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Over the past year I’ve fallen in love with Alix E. Harrow’s stories. Not only is she an author who combines fantasy with historical fiction, one of my favourite things to read and write, and not only is her writing stunning, but there’s something so nostalgic about her tales that reminds me why it is we love stories in the first place.
After celebrating the portal fantasy genre in The Ten Thousand Doors of January, it’s time for witches to shine in The Once and Future Witches and oh how I adored this book.
James Juniper is the youngest of three sisters who were all incredibly close until they weren’t. Until the day her older sisters left her with their father, and June never heard from them again. When her father finally dies seven years later (with a little help from June), she flees to New Salem, reunites with her sisters (who, for some reason, haven’t spoken to each other in a long time) and, naturally, becomes involved in the suffrage movement.
In this alternate version of 19th century America, though, witches are real and still widely feared, and when June and her sisters, Bella and Agnes, accidentally bring witchcraft back into the world to empower women and the disenfranchised, they find themselves at war with the government of New Salem.
There’s June, who’s young and angry and frightened and so desperate to be with her sisters; middle sister, Agnes, the beauty who’s tried to cut herself off from her desire to mother the world until motherhood comes knocking on her door; and eldest sister, Bella, a scholarly and shy librarian who’s hiding some demons of her own after their father sent her away to school.
This novel had so much in it that I love, and explored so many different things, that I don’t really know what to say about it other than that you need to pick it up and read it. There are so many quotes from this book that I would gladly have tattooed on my forehead.
There were two things I particularly loved, however. Firstly, I loved that this is a novel of witchcraft with family at its centre. You’d think witchcraft and covens would create dozens and dozens of stories centred on sisterhoods, and yet so many witchcraft stories are overtaken by romance. The Once and Future Witches is a love story, but it’s a love story between three sisters who are discovering each other again and, in so doing, finally discovering themselves.
There were still two romances in the novel that I loved – a sapphic romance that was my everything, and another romance I so appreciated because Harrow wrote a woman who was still allowed to be desirable while pregnant, which I don’t think we see enough – but they worked so well because they didn’t take over the story, and it’s ultimately the relationship between June, Agnes and Bella that’s at the heart of this book.
Secondly, can I please get a hallelujah that the Eastwood sisters aren’t from high society? Something I’m always yearning for more of in my witch stories, particularly when they have a historical setting, is stories centred around the working classes. Tales about high society witches so often follow the same pattern of a woman who’s not like other girls™ who doesn’t want to get married, and yet whose story often ultimately revolves around a romance. With the Eastwood sisters being working class, Harrow was able to look at so many different parts of society – from the suffrage movement to racism to trans rights – instead of following one very small group of people who never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
This is a tale of family and sisterhood and politics and power; a story about how the way in which the history of anyone who isn’t a white and wealthy man is so often overlooked can also be a way of quietly passing power through the generations, and how, ultimately, the stories we choose to tell are some of the most powerful spells in our possession.
I can admit now that I was worried the much advertised 'suffrage' aspect of the book might make it preachy rather than entertaining. But it’s not, not at all. It simply frames an utterly compelling world where the lack of equality has one more aspect. It remains a proper fantasy, through and through. Magical action, diabolical plots and all. And yet. So.Very.Fresh.
The relationships, whether between sisters, friends or lovers, are beautifully laid out. I thought the pacing was perfect, these characters are emotionally damaged and rushing into any new connection would have been wrong for them. I wept more than once.
I find it hard to believe I don’t have a whole shelf of Alix E Harrow's novels already. She writes like a long time giant of the genre. Guess I’ll just have to be patient!
The prose is beautiful. The story is poignant, tragic and powerful. There is a darkness to it which is made so much more unnerving because a lot of the terror happens ‘off screen’. The protagonists have clear and distinct personalities with flaws and wants. (You know, like real people.) The technical aspects of the writing (brackets, hyphens, asides and so on) add to the story rather than clutter it up. The story is clever but does not ram that cerebral aspect down your throat. The wisdom is not heavy handed.
“That’s all magic is, really: the space between what you have and what you need.”
There is humour. There is hate. There is love. And, of course, there is a witch burning, though that may not turn out how you expect.
In short, the book is stunning.
I feel that a review needs some kind of ‘but…’ to give it credibility. I have no buts to give. The book had me from the dedication to the last page.
I’ll read it again. Soon. At the moment, though, part of me is worried that The Once and Future Witches won’t live up to my remembered expectations. Memories can be treacherous things. But for those of you who have the will, this book has ‘the words and the ways’.
And they are magical.
There were a few parts that I felt the book slowed down a bit but for the most part the pacing was fast and story interesting.
The magic system in the book was charming and most the side characters where likeable. I found some of the plot predictable although I didn’t figure it all out till the last page.
The ending was heartwarming I just didn’t want it to end! I needed more of the Eastwood sisters and their sisterly bond.
A perfect witchy read with characters you can’t help but love from the very first page.