After Grandmére Ursule gives her life to save her tribe, her magic seems to die with her. Even so, her family keeps the Old Faith, practicing the spells and rites that have been handed from mother to daughter for generations. Until one day, Ursule’s young granddaughter steps into the circle, and magic flows anew.
From early 19th century Brittany to London during the Second World War, five generations of witches fight the battles of their time, deciding how far they are willing to go to protect their family, their heritage, and ultimately, all of our futures.
This book was a bit unexpected but I ended up liking it a lot. I’ll admit that part of the unexpected bit is because I’m terrible about reading blurbs haha. If I had I would have known more going in. 🙂
So, let me first talk about the structure of the book because I think that was the most intriguing thing for me. This is a story that starts back in the early 1800s with a group of women and their families that have moved from France into England in order to escape persecution. They come from a long family line of witches. We follow the youngest sister and the story of her life. Then we go to following her daughter as she grows up and her own trials and tribulations. And then her daughter’s daughter. And so on. We go through the generations all the way up through WWII. Now, this much is revealed by the blurb. But it’s interesting that each of these sections, detailing the lives of a particular woman, are more like interconnected shorts than one continuous story. And that the protagonist in one may be an antagonist in another. Each of these stories felt consistent in the way they were told, despite the protagonists very much being their own characters with their own flair for life which helped hold the book together as a whole.
I love that this book centered women protagonists, keeping them at the heart of the story. It also showed many different kinds of women and that all women have the same hopes and dreams or want to play the same roles in life. Although, if I’m being 10% honest it could have taken that even further. One of the things that I didn’t love is how the magic, something in their blood, was something that was always going to dictate certain things in their lives. Parts of it was inescapable for them. The need to have a daughter and pass on the knowledge of the craft was almost like something that was against their will. I also have many feelings about gender based magic in that, basically, it sucks. I don’t understand why the men didn’t also inherit this craft. I get that it’s a story about women but women weren’t the only ones persecuted as witches so…. this just feels like lazy writing to me in some ways.
Because of the way this book is structured as a bunch of shorts strung together the pacing is a little all over the place in that it doesn’t build to a single climax and there’s many more slice of life moments sprinkled throughout the stories. This was okay for me because I don’t always need books to go about things in the usual ways. Also, I do enjoy some good slice of life moments.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty good read! I’m not sure exactly what I expected with this book but I’m mostly glad with what I found here. Will definitely read more of Louisa Morgan’s witch books in the future. 3.5/5 stars.