The Once and Future Witches

eBook, 528 pages

English language

Published Oct. 13, 2020 by Redhook.

ISBN:
978-0-316-42203-1
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4 stars (44 reviews)

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.

An homage to the indomitable power and persistence of women, The Once …

7 editions

A view on current issues through a story on women's suffrage

4 stars

Well crafted story and magic and women's rights. What's not to love?

(The rest of the review is super personal; I wonder if it has the same effect on others.) I was angry for and with the characters, not at them. Which was the point of the book, sure. But it was relentless. By the end of book I was exhausted. And I realized that I need that energy for issues in the real world; I need to save my anger energy these days.

Review of 'The Once and Future Witches' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is not a soft book. This book tugs at the parts of me that survived abusive family, exboyfriends, cancer... That has lost jobs for speaking up against "those jokes".

I adored it. It's about the power women (and yes this book means ALL WOMEN) have when they come together against their oppressor.

I think I need to go read it again...

Review of 'The Once and Future Witches' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

There was a lot I liked about this one. Let me quickly get some of the criticisms out of the way. I felt things meandered a bit and could have been tighter, some of the characters' decisions felt like plot conveniences, and the writing bordered on melodramatic. Some of the characters were more well written and fleshed out than others.

That being said, I really enjoyed the themes of the story, that it had a relatively diverse cast, the hidden bits of magic everywhere, and Juniper as a character. Some of the writing and imagery is beautiful, and the author really has a transportive way to talk about smells of all things.

I'd recommend this for its story of magic, strong female characters (including queer ones), and uprising against your oppressors.

Review of 'The Once and Future Witches' on 'Goodreads'

No rating






I heard about this book from a retweet of a tweet from the author. She said that one of the weirdest complaints that she gets about this book is that it was too political. She said she didn't know what people expected from a book about lesbian suffragette witches. I was in. I listened to this on audio and I think that was the best choice for me. The writing is very lyrical and descriptive. That style tends to bore me when I am reading. I'm a get to the point kind of person. It was soothing on audio though. The story is set in an alternate Massachusetts where witches are real but shunned. Most every woman knows a little spell or two passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. That's not really witching though, is it? When a group of estranged sisters accidentally trigger the reappearance of a mysterious …

Review of 'The Once and Future Witches' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I may have had some issues with the focus of characters in The Ten Thousand Doors of January but it was clear that Alix E. Harrow can write a story, and I didn't hesitate to jump in to The Once and Future Witches.

The story packs more than witches and spells. There are messages about equality, tolerance and the strength that love from family can bring. I found it particularly cute how nursery rhymes, song lyrics and stories were interwoven in to the narrative.

The book didn't strike me in any strong way, it was an enjoyable read and firmly in the liked it category.

Excellent, but a bit much in places.

4 stars

There is a huge amount going on this book, probably a bit too much. It's a wonderful story about three sisters, witchcraft, and a fight against injustice. I love the half fantasy, half real world, the snippets of re-told fairy tales, the magic. The three sisters are all great characters, with very different approaches and views on the world. On the other hand this is a big book, with a bit too much going on. There's so many side stories and characters who appear and disappear that it's kind of hard to stay engaged with it all. I think there was a desire to show all the different sides of the struggle, but it's just a bit too much for one book. This is really good, but The Ten Thousand Doors of January is better.

Review of 'The Once and Future Witches' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I didn't connect solidly with the characters and while the feminism is appreciated, the execution felt heavy-handed.

However! The writing! And the subtle historical and literary twists!

Not every reader will like the writing (another reviewer referred to it as "purple" and I understand why) but for me, it landed perfectly with the rural Southern character voices.

The way every fairy tale (now witch-tales) is just a tiny bit altered was delightful. The way the disparate tales connect is intriguing.

Bottom line, the faults did make it slow-going at times, but the virtues made it worth it.

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