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For Readers: Blog

Witch, please!

by Book Geniuses on 2020-10-15T11:40:29-05:00 in Fiction, Books & Reading | Comments

If you’ve seen Hocus Pocus one too many times and are looking for different witches to make October magical, look no further than these books featuring modern-day witches (some with PhDs), witches from around the world, and some Salem witches.

Modern-day witches

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. Diana Bishop, a young scholar at Oxford, discovers a bewitched manuscript and her own hidden magical powers. [e-book | print | large type | audiobook]

The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe
Another smart witch, Connie Goodwin, is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America but little does she know, she is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem! [e-book | print | large type | audiobook]

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Claire Waverley, 34, is particularly skilled in the art of making healing remedies from her garden. She has built a successful catering business in Bascom, North Carolina, and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life alone in the family house. When her wild sister Sydney returns home with her young daughter, Claire's routine existence is turned upside down. [e-book | print | large type]

Witches of the world

Circe by Madeline Miller
The famed witch from The Odyssey finally gets her own story. Born to the god Helios in ancient Greece, Circe is a strange child and in discovering her witchcraft is banished by Zeus to a deserted island where she crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus. [e-book | print | large type | audiobook]

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Forty fisherman in the tiny town of Vardø are drowned in a terrible storm and the women are left to fend for themselves. Three years later when Absalom and his wife Ursa arrive from Scotland, they are suspicious of the independent women living without men and set out to purge the town of all evil. [print | e-audiobook]

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
This is a sweeping epic set in Louisiana before and after the Civil War, telling the lives of three women and the magic that intertwines them: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother's footsteps as a midwife; and their master's daughter Varina. [e-book | print | e-audiobook]
 

Salem witches

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
Modern-day witches Sally and Gillian Owens (and their aunts Franny and Jet) from the book Practical Magic are beloved fictional characters. This new story by Alice Hoffman shines a light on their mysterious ancestor living in 1600s Salem who started their whole family curse. Maria Owens is abandoned in a snowy field in England as a baby but is taken in by a kind woman who recognizes her gifts and teaches her about the unnamed arts. When Maria falls in love, she follows the man to Salem and learns the most valuable and heartbreaking lesson about magic and love. [print]

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Author Kathleen Kent is a descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the first women accused, tried, and hanged as a witch in Salem. In this fictional tale, she brings her ancestor to life through the eyes of Martha’s daughter. This is as much a fictional account of the Salem witch trials as it is a compelling family story. [print]

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
This is historian Stacy Schiff’s well-researched look at the women who played a central role in the Salem witch trials, examining the strains and tensions of Puritan adolescent life mixed with the religious provocations and anxieties at the time. Drawn from rich archival material, this work of nonfiction vividly brings the Salem witch trials to life. [e-book | print | audiobook]

—Gina


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