Hello everyone! Today I’m bringing you an unspoilery review for a fun, entertaining book about women’s rights, witchcraft, and family. Happy Book Birthday to the wonderful book, The Once and Future Witches!!!
This book was an ARC given to me from the publisher and author through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you for this opportunity, and know that all thoughts are my own and do not reflect the author or publisher in any way.
Title: The Once and Future Witches
Author: Alice E. Harrow
Three sisters, a mystery, and witchcraft. It’s 1893, and New Salem has evolved to where there is no such thing as witchcraft– or at least that’s what they want to believe. Years ago, women contained power through their witchery, but after years of hunting and burning witches, the last of the witches died (supposedly). Now, witchcraft is illegal and women are looking for power in society by gaining the right to vote.
When the Eastwood sisters- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna- are suddenly reunited after being called together by a powerful, magical force, they join the suffragists for the hunt for women’s rights. But as these sisters bring their magic into the cause, the women’s movement starts to become the witches’ movement, and the group gets trapped in a mystery that could bring witchcraft back into the world for good. There’s no such thing as witches, but there will be.
This was such a fun book! I loved the characters, and the plot. There was such a heavy women’s power emphasis in this book, and it was fun to explore the issue of women’s suffrage from a fantasy standpoint involving witches. Harrow’s writing style is witty and creative, and I had such a good time blowing through this descriptive, beautiful story. That being said, the pacing of the book was fairly slow at points, so be aware of that going into the story.
I want to briefly discuss each sister, to help you know and love them– it took me a little while to keep them straight, although they do have distinct voices throughout the book:
- James Juniper is the youngest Eastwood sister. She is spunky, rambunctious, outgoing, and knows how to hold a grudge. When her sisters left her home alone with her awful father, she was forced to toughen up to survive. Years later, Juniper hasn’t forgotten the betrayal. She also hasn’t forgotten all the magic her grandmother taught her, and the power that she knows that she deserves.
- Agnes Amaranth is the middle Eastwood sister. She is realistic, caring, and reliable. It killed her to leave her sisters at home alone, but she did what she must. In the years since she is struggling to decide what there is to live for when you don’t have any power in society or family to go home to.
- Beatrice Belladonna is the oldest Eastwood sister. She is the bookish sister with her head in the clouds. Beatrice left when she couldn’t stand being at home anymore, and since then she has been working in the library where she can be surrounded by books, ancient works, and her studies. She gave up the distasteful art of witchcraft after moving from the countryside, but this one spell might change everything.
All in all, I had a wonderful time reading this book! The characters were fun and quirky, and I loved reading about their sibling relationships! There were also aspects of the book designated to thinking about Queer feelings during this time period, motherhood with an absentee father, and growing up without a mother. It was fascinating to see real world problems and solutions mixed up with witchery and magic.
I loved reading this book, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, feminist, fantasy book about the return of witchcraft, women’s rights, and family.
Have you read this book? Would you like to? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Be Safe, Stay Strong, and Change the World!!! ❤️🏳️🌈✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻🏳️🌈❤️
Use the links below to add this book on Goodreads or purchase it from Amazon or Book Depository.