What We Sacrifice for Magic

Alcove. Sept. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781639108756. pap. $18.99. FANTASY
DEBUT It’s 1968, but the “Age of Aquarius” hasn’t yet reached tiny Friedrich, MN, where the latest crop of high school grads are expected to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Elisabeth Watry-Ridder, heiress to the leader of her family of protective, powerful witches, feels the walls of her future closing in, so she runs off to Minneapolis. It’s only when her grandmother, the indomitable, irascible Madga, dies, leaving the family power in tatters and the town desperate for protection, that she learns her grandmother wasn’t nearly always as right as either of them thought and that just because things have consistently been that way doesn’t mean that she can’t forge a new path for handling the burden she’s always been expected to bear.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed the witchy cross-generational squabbles in Hazel Beck’s “Witchlore” series, lovers of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, and anyone who adored the setting and the family dynamics of The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal but wished it had a touch of magic will fall hard for DeWerd’s debut, a coming-of-age and coming-into-power story about sacrifice and sisterhood.
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