Hello! Lately I’ve been dabbling in witchcraft. KInd of. My reading picks have been decidedly witchy. Is there a better time than October/Halloween to indulge in stories about badass witches?
I read the first of The Vine Witch series last year and this year I’m having fun reading the second and third of the trilogy. Set at the turn of the 20th century in France It follows three witches Elena, Yvette, and Sidra. The descriptions of the Belle Epoque era in Paris are swoon worthy.
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is a feminist rethink of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from Katrina’s point of view. Ichabod is a worthy romance hero and not depicted as the milquetoast you’ve seen in other renditions. A complaint I ran into on Goodreads was that it’s more mystery/suspense rather than horror. That was fine by me but thought i’d mention it in case you were looking for a scary Halloween read.
When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.
But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.
Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.
And finally a duology by Paula Brackston. I really enjoyed The Winter Witch last year and these books are set to be a favorite. Bess’ story is one for the ages and I stayed up way too late reading many nights unable to put it down.
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers’ market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories–and demons–long thought forgotten.
Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, Paula Brackston’s New York Times bestseller, 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, and protect the protégé she comes to love.
May I also humbly recommend: