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The Once and Future Witches

by Alix E. Harrow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,296826,648 (4.08)82
In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.But when the three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote - and perhaps not even to live - the sisters must delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.… (more)
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» See also 82 mentions

English (78)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Worldbuilding: A
Plot: B-
Writing: C ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
Honestly, the beginning of this book dragged for me. Not enough to stop me reading but enough that I could easily put it down. I felt a kinship to the characters that kept me coming back. By halfway I was hooked, I watched the story unravel and even as I figured out what was happening I loved it. I laughed, I cried, I felt lost, but most of all empowered.

It’s also got an incredibly diverse cast and I LOVE IT. I gave it 4 stars for the beginning being a bit slow but it’s worth every one of them. ( )
  ChaoticGoblin | Jan 23, 2024 |
I really liked this even though the writing style was too "lyrical" for me. I skimmed through some especially florid passages because it was the plot that interested me most. The Sisters Eastwood are total underdogs in a battle for women's rights. I knew they were going to triumph, but how?

The villain was excellent -- unexpected but his story totally made sense when it was revealed.

There are a million references to nursery rhymes and fairy tales in this, which is for sure my jam. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
I read about a third of this book, and it was interesting and engaging. Despite of that, I did not feel invested. The sisters are taking a long time to start liking each other. Other than that, I simply don't really care about what happens. I feel I should. But I don't care about the characters. ( )
  zjakkelien | Jan 2, 2024 |
This book is amazing.... Just what I needed to read. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Bella, Agnes, and Juniper Eastwood are nobodies. They are estranged from one another, broken, impotent, and invisible, all having suffered at the brutal hands of an abusive father. They are witches without the craft of witches, wayward women in a world that “binds and bridles” wayward women....Over the course of the novel, the sisters must overcome their past grievances and heal their fractures, build a sisterhood with other women, and rediscover and master the spells half-hidden by the witches of yore in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, lullabies, and children’s stories....Harrow’s story lies firmly within the feminist tradition, reflective of the social commentaries of modern feminist thinkers like Kate Manne and Rebecca Traister and reminiscent of women’s recent and growing exercise of their political power
 
Combining an imaginative and fully realized system of magic, stellar worldbuilding and characters who grow, expand and subvert readers’ expectations on every page, THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES is the perfect brew of magic and power. With themes of intersectional feminism, motherhood and the deep scars of trauma, Harrow provides readers with an intoxicating mix of fantasy and reality that will speak to both the powerless and the empowered, igniting a new fury within all who read it.
 
If spells ("witch-ways" in the novel) are truly hidden in stories, then I know what spell is in The Once and Future Witches. It's the spell to claim a heart and dwell there, ever after. I unabashedly, unreservedly adore The Once and Future Witches. I adore it with the kind of passion that prickles at my eyes and wavers my voice. I adore it in a way that requires purchase of a giving copy, for friends in need.
 
The worldbuilding is richly detailed, inclusive, and enchanting, while still honoring the harsher history of civil rights and resistance. VERDICT Drawn from folklore and history, Harrow’s (The Ten Thousand Doors of January) lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily forgotten.
 
Harrow gestures at a diverse, gender-neutral vision of witchcraft, through which men cast spells in Latin, the Dakota Sioux use dances, and black witches use songs and constellations, but despite the inclusive background cast and manifesto moments (in Harrow’s imagining, a witch is “any woman who... fights for her fair share”), the racial and gender politics are oversimplified as the focus remains tightly on the sisters. Still, their path to empowerment is entertaining, and Harrow’s world is gleefully referential; folklore and history enthusiasts will have a feast.
added by Lemeritus | editPublishers Weekly (May 12, 2020)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alix E. Harrowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zackman, GabraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my mother and grandmother and
all the women they burned before us
First words
There's no such thing as witches, but there used to be.
Quotations
Maybe magic is just the space between what you have and what you need.
“Maybe you're right, and they didn't have anything to do with it. Still. Seems to me they're the same thing, more or less.” “What are?” Juniper's eyes reflect the bronze shine of Saint George's standing in the square. “Witching and women's rights. Suffrage and spells. They're both…” She gestures in midair again. “They're both a kind of power, aren't they? The kind we aren't allowed to have.” The kind I want, says the hungry shine of her eyes.
He comes from broad-minded Quaker stock, but there are rules about people like Miss Quinn lingering too long in the Salem College Library. The rules aren't written down anywhere, but the important rules rarely are.
an endless stream of committees and subcommittees to keep her busy. She didn't think throwing down the tyranny of man would take so many meetings, but apparently it does.
Things always come in sevens in witch-tales (swans, dwarves, days to create the world), so Juniper figures they'll do fine.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.But when the three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote - and perhaps not even to live - the sisters must delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

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