SFF

The Once and Future Witches

Redhook: Orbit. Oct. 2020. 528p. ISBN 9780316422048. $28. FANTASY
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There used to be witches, but plagues and purges came, along with fire—and now the witches are gone. Little charms endure, passed down through the generations, but these are worn down to nursery rhymes and old memories. Now in 1893, women look for power at the ballot box, and the New Salem Women’s Association seeks suffragists to support their cause. On the spring equinox, the long-separated Eastwood sisters—James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna—all feel the energy that arrives in their city and start to use their positions in the women’s movement to reclaim real magic. But there is a shadowy sickness in New Salem, and the sisters will need to form alliances throughout the city, discover lost witchcraft, and set down the pain of their childhood, before a dark power destroys the movement and their lives. The worldbuilding is richly detailed, inclusive, and enchanting, while still honoring the harsher history of civil rights and resistance.
VERDICT Drawn from folklore and history, Harrow’s (The Ten Thousand Doors of January) lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily forgotten.

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