The Bossy Bookworm
Six More Wonderfully Witchy Stories to Charm You
Witchy Book Love
It's the perfect time of year to read a spooky book full of magic!
If you haven't already, I hope you'll check out the books on the Greedy Reading List Six Wonderfully Witchy Stories to Charm You. Because I love a witchy book, I'm back with more more more witchy titles here, and I'm working on a third list.
What are your favorite witchy stories?
01 Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Hour of the Witch is a thoroughly researched, witchy, historical thriller with fantastic details of the time.
Bohjalian's Hour of the Witch takes place in 1662 Boston, where strong-willed women like main protagonist young Mary Deerfield are suspicious and frequently considered dangerous.
Hour of the Witch is a thoroughly researched historical fiction thriller with fantastic details of the time that focuses on the character of a twenty-four-year-old, faithful Puritan wife trying to escape her violent, often drunk husband, who is a widower twice her age--and the witch trial that followed.
Bohjalian traces infuriating injustices perpetuated against the female characters--who like the real-life women of the time, are largely powerless and often not considered autonomous beings. Mary's foul treatment by her husband--and the community's unwillingness to protect her--may have you roiling with rage, but just know that Mary has a fiery spirit and some tricks up her sleeve, and she doesn't intend to go quietly.
For my full review, please see Hour of the Witch.
02 The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried, and hanged for witchcraft during the era of Salem witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts.
In The Heretic's Daughter, Martha Carrier's tenth generation descendant Kathleen Kent offers a historical fiction tale centered around Martha and the twisted paranoia of the time that was aimed against strong women, the unusual, and the unknown.
The story had a few too many "doom is coming, get ready" types of heads-ups for my liking--especially because this is, after all, a Salem-set witch-trial story, and most readers will tend to anticipate trouble.
But there was real depth to the story, the relationships, and the family in The Heretic's Daughter, with a vividly imagined setting and wonderful details of the time. I love that this is written by Carrier's descendant.
This is the second in Kent's Carrier series, but it's not necessary to read The Wolves of Andover first (I didn't).
03 A Deadly Education (Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik
El is a grumpy, powerful, smart, straightforward character I was obsessed with, and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.
A Deadly Education is the first in Novik's Scholomance series, which is set at a magical school with two routes out: a grueling path to graduation and beyond or, just as likely, death. Danger and darkness lurk around every corner.
I loved the wonderful dark humor and unexpected details, and the exchanges between El and Orion (and El and everyone) were fantastic--El is a grumpy, powerful, smart, straightforward character I was obsessed with, and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.
I loved that Novik began putting more of the school's fate in the hands of her young characters--and I gleefully tore through the book to find out what they'd do with their power.
The dark humor in this book reminded me of another book I also loved, Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots.
For my full review, please see A Deadly Education. The Last Graduate is the second book in the Scholomance series. The Golden Enclaves, the third book in the series, was published in fall 2022.
04 The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
There's brutality and bravery in this spooky tale--and the atmospheric descriptions of the remote, tiny town setting created an eerie, claustrophobic feeling.
When Immanuelle ventures into the Darkwood, she encounters the legendary witches she's heard tell of her whole life--and finds that her mother's rumored encounters with the coven really happened.
She's given a long-lost journal detailing her mother's exile, thirst for vengeance, and plans for enacting evil spells against those who treated her poorly.
I listened to Henderson's spooky book The Year of the Witching as an audiobook, and this dark, witchy tale felt perfect as winter was coming.
There's devastating brutality but also incredible bravery on the part of Immanuelle and her friend Ezra. The atmospheric descriptions of the remote, tiny town created an eerie, claustrophobic feeling.
For my full review, please see The Year of the Witching.
05 The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight #1) by Katherine Arden
The first book in the Winternight trilogy, this is a Russia-set, ancient-feeling, dark fairy tale of a story.
The Bear and the Nightingale takes place within a small Russian village and centers around an extended family.
"True believers" are pitted against dark, feared forces, turning what the village collectively believes to be good and pure on its head. Those who triumph over destructive righteousness, blind obedience, and attempts at wielding selfish power do so by remembering the old ways, defying expectations, and showing limitless bravery.
The Bear and the Nightingale is the first book in the Winternight trilogy.
The Girl in the Tower and The Winter of the Witch are the others, and I think Arden's stories get even stronger as the series goes on, with complex interpersonal relationships, court politics, mystical creatures, and wonderful character development.
I also listed The Bear and the Nightingale in the Greedy Reading List Six Magical Fairy Tales Grown-Ups Will Love.
06 The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Small moments in this young adult book ring true, and the story feels primarily about relationships, set against a witchy background.
In the world of Griffin's young adult fantasy novel The Nature of Witches, witches control the weather. And--this part of the storyline may feel uncomfortably familiar--climate change has set weather patterns spinning out of control. Destructive blizzards, devastating tornadoes, desperate heat, and shockingly bitter cold are alternately threatening the land--and endangering the lives of witches and shaders (regular humans) alike.
The story feels primarily about relationships, with a witchcraft background and setting. A chaste attraction involves lots of romance and a love that must not be (in order to save lives!)--and I was up for all of it.
The magical school setting reminded me of Naomi Novik's A Deadly Education, although the tone of this book is more romantic and without an edge.
For my full review, please see The Nature of Witches.