Review: The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Alix E Harrow’s, ‘The Once and Future Witches’ is a book with a righteous temper.

Telling the story of the three Eastwood sisters, Juniper, Agnes and Bella—brought up in witchcraft, an old witchcraft that has been otherwise lost to the rest of the world—and their part in fighting for women’s suffrage in a subtly alternate late 19th century United States, this is a powerful novel about the struggle of all women to be seen and heard, and to determine their own lives. It’s full of love and wit and guile, and quick and clever words. And anger. And temper.

At times, the temper can make it a hard read – not because of the uncomfortable subjects, but rather that the beats of this book are irregular, and the pace gets distracting in places. But you have to ride this storm to get the best out of this book, because this is a story about hard truths told in hard ways, and it reflects the hard battles women face. The Eastwood sisters turn pain into truth, and truth into power, both in trying to win the right to vote and in trying to defeat a magical threat that doesn’t want the balance of power to shift in the witches’ favour, and will burn them alive if it can.

Fans of HG Parry, of Jeanette Ng, and those finally discovering Octavia Butler, will all find something to connect with here.

Powerful, compassionate, wrathful, this is a book alive in every line. I can definitely recommend it. It comes out on October 15th in the UK, find it here:

An ARC was kindly provided by Little, Brown Book Group.

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