The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow 

 January 18, 2023

By  BookishBearx

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 in 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 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.

The Once and Future Witches is a historical fantasy fiction set in the 1800’s. It is packed full of the supernatural, suspense, feminism and magic. It was first published in October 2020 under Redhook and was the Goodreads Choice Award winner for Fantasy 2020.

I am going to spend the majority of this review just gushing about how much I loved this book!! I have always been a fan of witches, magic and supernatural stories. Growing up I was obsessed with Sabrina and Buffy. So this book seemed right up my street. I found myself completely unable to put it down. I always wanted to be reading it. It was a compulsive need to know what happened next. And when I finished the book I just felt lost. If you’ve ever really, and I mean really enjoyed a book, you’ll know that feeling that I mean. When you finally come back to the real world and you don’t quite know what to do with yourself.

Harrow’s writing style is one of beauty. She arranges words on the page so beautifully. Everything ebbs and flows exactly as it should. It’s a smooth read, you don’t have to work to be engaged and follow what’s happening. But it still keeps you guessing all the way through. I also loved that the characters were such strong, powerful women. Their personalities were so inspiring and everything you would want in a feminist novel. They wouldn’t be kicked down, no matter what they always got back up and stayed true to themselves and each other.

I cannot sing enough praises about this book. It’s creepy, it’s powerful, it’s heart breaking but then it warms your heart a second later. It is full of hate and love and loss, and growth and victory. It is a rollercoaster of a story that drags you in whole heartedly and only lets go of you at the end. 10/10 the best book that I have read this year.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Especially women, feminists and fellow witches.

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