A sweeping historical saga that traces five generations of fiercely powerful mothers and daughters -- witches whose magical inheritance is both a dangerous threat and an extraordinary gift.
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mère Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew.
The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.
"I loved it. A beautiful generational tale, reminiscent of Practical Magic.... Grounded and real, painful and hopeful at the same time." -- Laure Eve, author of The Graces
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Enjoyed the read
I enjoyed this read. It follows various generations of women in one family line, and how their actions and beliefs affect their lives, but also how they choose to live and be helps them grow as individuals.
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan is a historical novel that starts in 1838 at Orchard Farm. The Orchierres families magic seemed to wither with the death of Grandmere Ursule. Her descendants keep following the practices she established that have been handed down from mother to daughter. They have Ursule’s magic crystal and grimoire. Some of them can do simple spells, simples and charms. Nanette, Ursule’s granddaughter, is the first one to blossom with real power. Magic, though, always comes at a price. Follow the magic through the generations to see what happens to the Orchierres line of witches.
A Secret History of Witches was a slow-paced novel that I found lacking in magic. The story had potential, but it was never achieved. Each generation seemed to make the same mistake (it seemed like the same story repeated over for each generation—the author just changed the clothes or words to fit the time period). I thought it would be a story about strong, female witches (instead we have women that grow up, get pregnant, pass on family history and repeat for the next generation). Unfortunately, the only strong person was Gradmere Ursule (and she was dead). The woman and men were stuck in their gender roles and they were conventional. The magic elements were uninspiring. For a book about witches and magic, it was deficient. The characters lacked development (they were flat). Some sections were more complete than others. I was disappointed in the ending (it was unsatisfying and felt unfinished). I did not understand why the author did not bring the book into modern times and bring the witches full circle. She could have shown them back in full power in modern times. The book needed some oomph. My rating for A Secret History of Witches is 2 out of 5 stars. There is some good writing and the author did her research for the historical periods featured. My favorite section the World War II with Veronica Selwyn. If you are looking for a magical novel, check out Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy (vampires too)!
I haven't read in years, my job and mommy duty just got in the way. I picked up this on a whim since I had a 4 hour flight ahead of me. I was halfway through it when I reached my destination and had a hard time putting it down. I never stopped needing to know what came next. To top it off, I was pretty darn satisfied with the ending. If you’re into stories about witches and enjoy a novel that ties in real world events to the timeline, this will be a delight.