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A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

A Secret History of Witches (edition 2017)

by Louisa Morgan (Author)

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2271075,643 (3.53)9
Title:A Secret History of Witches
Authors:Louisa Morgan (Author)
Info:Redhook (2017), Edition: First Edition, 496 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan



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This sounded like such a good book, but unfortunately, it was redundant, characters were never developed enough to like and just an okay book. Very disappointing. It starts out strong with a great story, but it's downhill from there to the end. A group of gypsies are fleeing persecution in France, they escape to Mont St. Michel in Cornwall, where they settle on a farm and stay to themselves. One of them inherits magical powers, has a daughter who also inherits these powers, she has a daughter who, yes, you guessed it inherits also and so on and so forth. Very predictable, bland and not worth the time to read. Look for anything else that will fill your need to read a witch book or an encyclopedia, much more interesting. ( )
  LydiaGranda | Feb 15, 2019 |
Told as a series of stories about different generations of women who were witches. With power that they use in different ways and always having a girl child, often outside of wedlock and the different ways they chose to survive.

It sounds all my catnip but because there are the stories of several women I didn't feel like I really got to know any of them. It finished with a witch who works against the Nazis during World War II and I understand that there's a sequel, but I really don't care. It was readable but I didn't really feel that I really cared or that I understood the why of a lot of their dealings.

Honestly it felt like someone writing a literary novel with paranormal leanings. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Feb 1, 2019 |
Star Rating - 3.5

Exploration of multiple family generations and witch-craft is what drew my attention to this book. I adore a good family exploration and after a couple years ago, I’ve been fascinated by witch history and the persecution thereof. Given some of the lukewarm reviews I’ve read for this work, my expectations weren’t as high as they might have been. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised. So despite a few glitches, the mixture of fantastic characterization and suspenseful storytelling kept me spellbound.

I adore what the author did with her characters. She made each woman stand out so well, from personality quirks to how they utilized their magic to how that same magic influenced them. Some used their power for personal gain with personalities to match that outlook. Others were the true definition of self sacrifice to carry on the family line. Each woman stood out as distinct in each decade as we explore the Orchiere line.

I loved how the author handled the witchcraft throughout history, though this was one of the areas that felt a bit off for me as well. Starting in the beginning of the 19th century through to WWII, the author explores this family of witches facing the various dangers of their calling. Literal witch hunts to the danger of losing hearth & home or marriages all make an appearance. And how these ladies face these dangers further illustrate their different personalities and life outlooks.

The one area I felt where things got a bit unrealistic was the fervor of those literal witch hunts in the early 19th century. Now I’ve never experienced back water small country town life, especially in an era such as the early 1800s, so I can’t speak on how realistic these reactions to witchcraft were. However, I felt like the pastor led mobs in Parts 1 and 3 came off as hard to believe in the day and age of scientific thought and reasoning. They felt like they should have been in the witch crazy times of the 1500s or 1600s.

The story flowed pretty well, keeping the audience engaged from one gal to another. I enjoyed each woman’s life journey as she dealt with the issue of continuing her line for herself, and building her power. Alternately with murdered companions or cliff edge dangers, the exciting parts gelled well with the slower story aspects.

Yet, there were times when the story felt rushed in places, too. This was especially evident to me in the last part, Veronica’s story. Her involvement in the war effort with her coven felt rushed, one moment the war was just starting and the next we’re at D-Day. The focus on her discovering her powers/heritage and seeing how that impacted her life was interesting. Yet, I felt like something was missing with the glossing over of other areas. The other parts didn’t seem to have this so much as Veronica’s story, but it stood out hard here.

Overall, this was a well done work of generational historical fiction, exploring the lives of women through the last two centuries, their families, and how witchcraft affects all. Despite some flaws on story rushing or a few examples of unrealistic story aspects, this is still highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a side of fantasy to their historical fiction, the study of witches/witchcraft through the ages, or the story of women in history and their struggles.

Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jun 5, 2018 |
I really wanted to love this novel but I didn't. The book is broken down into multiple parts such that each witch from the next generation gets her own story. I love the idea of magic being passed down from mother to daughter but I think that is where the problem of this novel lay: for each generation, the story from the previous generation must be recounted, and the same reactions from the newest witch are described, and it just starts to become repetitive. It's hard to break from that cycle when it is that very cycle that is being described in the novel. I think that out of all of the witches that were described, there was only one that was truly different from the rest. While I get that the same traits and powers will run in the family, the personalities of the different witches were too similar for my taste. And as I mentioned, the concept was interesting in the beginning but the story itself was too cyclic and repetitive to maintain my interest. The author did put a valiant effort in trying to tie in different historical events to change things up between generations, but the scenarios remained the same. I also wish there had been more supernatural elements; I would have loved to read about the different spells and things that they learned and the reasons why they did certain rituals. For me, there was just not enough of a unique story and so, I'm giving this a 2/5 stars.

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
1 vote veeshee | Feb 19, 2018 |
Was an ok read. It got daunting for me to have to switch through so many different perspectives throughout the book. Though the stories are linked, they are all separate and read like an anthology. I did not care for this style. Others may not mind it. ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Jan 24, 2018 |
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In loving memory of my mother,
June Margaret Bishop Campbell.
May your line continue forever.
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The layered clouds, gray as cold charcoal, shifted this way and that, mirroring the waves below.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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. After Grand-mere 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."--… (more)

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