"A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women. The characters live, bleed, and roar. "―Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR Books • Barnes and Noble • BookPage
In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in this powerful novel of magic, family, and the suffragette movement.
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 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 to 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.
An homage to the indomitable power and persistence of women, The Once and Future Witches reimagines stories of revolution, motherhood, and women's suffrage—the lost ways are calling.
Praise for The Once and Future Witches:
"A glorious escape into a world where witchcraft has dwindled to a memory of women's magic, and three wild, sundered sisters hold the key to bring it back...A tale that will sweep you away."―Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author
"This book is an amazing bit of spellcraft and resistance so needed in our times, and a reminder that secret words and ways can never be truly and properly lost, as long as there are tongues to speak them and ears to listen."―P. Djèlí Clark, author The Black God's Drum
For more from Alix E. Harrow, check out The Ten Thousand Doors of January.
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 colorful 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.
A Solid Read About Witches
I enjoyed this book, but it didn’t blow me away. It’s certainly well written, and the characters are fun, but it missed something. Still it’s a solid read, and if you’re in the mood for some witching, I recommend it.
A wonderful book to get swept away in. I found myself yearning to join the witches!!
Once and future witches
Excellent read, strong female leads and interesting twist on suffrage and battle for worker’s rights.