THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
'Glorious . . . a tale that will sweep you away' Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Tiger
'A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women' Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer
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 three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten 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 must 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.
Praise for The Once and Future Witches:
'A brilliant dazzle of a book . . . I devoured it in enormous gulps, and utterly loved it' Kat Howard, author of The Unkindness of Ghosts
'Compelling, exhilarating and magical - a must-read' Booklist (starred review)
'Delightful . . . a tale of women's battle for equality, of fairy tales twisted into wonderfully witchy spells, of magics both large and small, and history re-imagined' Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
'A love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history' Publishers Weekly
'A breathtaking book - brilliant and raw and dark and complicated' Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We could all use a little more magic these days, and Alix E. Harrow’s exciting romp conjures just the right spirits. In the author’s fantastical take on the year 1893, magic has been outlawed and three witchy sisters—brainy Bella, resilient Agnes, and wild child Juniper—are forced to keep their spell making secret. With an election looming and the suffragette movement growing, the siblings must rediscover ancient mystical abilities in order to ensure women’s power in the future. Told with vividly colourful language, The Once and Future Witches revels in the wonder of fairy tales, even beginning with the classic line “Once upon a time.” Harrow teases out compelling themes of duty, family, and romance and throws in enough subtext about feminism, class, and discrimination to make the 19th century feel pretty darn relevant. This feminist fable offers a perfect blend of history, politics and the #MeToo movement.
Harrow's sophomore novel (after The Ten Thousand Doors of January) is a love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history. The Eastwood sisters bookish Beatrice, stoic Agnes, and feral Juniper each paid a high price to escape their abusive parents and harsh childhood in an alternate 1893 America where witchcraft is real, illegal, and all but extinct. When a legendary rose-covered tower manifests in New Salem, the Eastwood sisters reunite as adults, drawn to its power. Assisted by New Salem's working-class and black communities, they set out to bring back real magic, but their actions accidentally boost a terrifying, repressive politician to fame. Harrow gestures at a diverse, gender-neutral vision of witchcraft, through which men cast spells in Latin, the Dakota Sioux use dances, and black witches use songs and constellations, but despite the inclusive background cast and manifesto moments (in Harrow's imagining, a witch is "any woman who... fights for her fair share"), the racial and gender politics are oversimplified as the focus remains tightly on the sisters. Still, their path to empowerment is entertaining, and Harrow's world is gleefully referential; folklore and history enthusiasts will have a feast.