Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blogging meme created by The Broke And Bookish. I believe this may be only my second or third Top Ten Tuesday post, but I’m hoping to be able to participate about once a month going forward.
This week’s topic was a Halloween Freebie. I’ve been wanting to post a book list with reviews of books all featuring witches for Halloween, but this year I didn’t get my act together early enough to complete the reading for it. So instead, I thought I’d put together a list of the books featuring witches that I’d like to read by next year’s Halloween, in time to post reviews of all of them in 2018. Most of my picks (9) are fiction, but I included one nonfiction title at the top.
Let me know if you have other recommendations! And Happy Halloween!
*If you’re a book blogger based in Los Angeles, don’t forget to join my new fb group Los Angeles Book Bloggers so we can start to share info on book-related events in the area and organize some get togethers!*
A Storm Of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker
Baker argues that the Salem witch trials marked a turning point in colonial history from Puritan communalism to Yankee independence, from faith in collective conscience to skepticism toward moral governance. A brilliantly told tale, A Storm of Witchcraft also puts Salem’s storm into its broader context.
My search for a good nonfiction history of the Salem witch trials continues. I read (or rather tried to read) The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff last year, and I DNFed it less than halfway through because it was so poorly organized. Reviews for other similar histories are mostly poor, so I’m pinning all my hopes on A Storm Of Witchcraft unless someone can recommend a better alternative to me.
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.
I just finished reading the prequel to Practical Magic – The Rules Of Magic (my review here) – and really enjoyed it. That combined with the fact that I love the movie based on this book is making me want to pick up Practical Magic asap.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.
I’ve heard this book mentioned as a favorite or recommendation a few times in the book blogging world and on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s book podcast. I didn’t realize that there are actually three witches in it, all from the same family.
The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches. Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself.
The Witch’s Daughter is the first book in a series called the Shadow Chronicles that includes another four published novels. I think it sounds both engaging and light, and I’m intrigued by the idea that if I end up liking it, there’s much more to explore.
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
A hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult across four centuries, by the spellbinding, bestselling author of The Vampire Chronicles.
I used to read Anne Rice novels when I was in high school and loved them – partly because at the time they felt really edgy and scandalous to me as a teenager. I don’t know why I stopped reading her books, but I think it’s time for a throwback.
The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Vasilisa spends the winter nights huddled around the fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, Vasilisa must call on dangerous gifts she has concealed in order to protect her family.
I added The Bear And The Nightingale to my TBR list earlier this year, shortly after its release. The story just sounds so magical and it’s set in a wintery landscape, which I love. I didn’t realize until searching for books on witches that Vasilisa technically qualifies as one, so I decided to add it to this list.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The women of the Waverley family are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home in North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.
This is another book that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It sounds light and mesmerizing in the vein of Practical Magic – steering on the more magical rather than scary side of the witch spectrum. And the luscious description of the garden has me wishing I could teleport there right now.
The Witches Of Eastwick by John Updike
In a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcees. Their happy little coven takes on new, malignant life when a dark and moneyed stranger, Darryl Van Horne, refurbishes the long-derelict Lenox mansion and invites them in to play.
The movie version of this novel is another great Halloween-appropriate choice, not quite as good as Hocus Pocus or Practical Magic, but still entertaining. I’ve always wondered if the novel would be better, as so often happens, and I’m planning to find out.
Speaks The Nightbird by Robert McCammon
The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies, and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward. Believing in Rachel’s innocence, Matthew confronts the true evil at work in Fount Royal.
Speaks The Nightbird has a really high rating on Goodreads (4.12) and raving reviews. I had never heard of Robert McCammon before, but he apparently writes quite the novel. The sequel – The Queen Of Bedlam – has an even higher rating (4.23), so I better get going on book one so I can move on to the second in the series.
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be tried and hanged as a witch in Salem. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials.
I’m interested in the mother-daughter dynamic in this book, and it certainly has a very captivating title. The reviews on Goodreads are a bit up and down, but what’s really intriguing me is that the author, Kathleen Kent, is actually a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier, the mother in the story. That’s a really special connection.
Have you read any of these titles? Which would you recommend I start with? Are there any other books about witches you’d suggest? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re looking for more book recommendations, check out my recent reviews for historical fiction novel The Last Days Of Night by Graham Moore and contemporary fiction novel The Best Kind Of People by Zoe Whittall.
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