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.
Alix’ first book, The Ten Thousand Doors of January was my first ever blog post, so I squealed with excitement when I got this one and it did not disappoint!
This is the story of three sisters and how, after being separated through circumstances none of them fully understand they are reunited and come together on a quest to return witchcraft to the world in order to make it a better place.
What an enchanting and spellbinding read! I loved the strong independent female characters that the author is so brilliant at creating and to touch on so many historical issues, such as gender, women’s rights, race, homophobia, sexuality, survival, feminism, that are so often glossed over in this genre was really refreshing.
I absolutely adored the addition of old fairy tales and the use of nursery rhymes as a way to pass witchcraft down through the generations and how they also came together to tell their own story.
This is the perfect book to cuddle up with on a cold October day when thoughts of Halloween and magic fill the air and Alix E Harrow is definitely on my auto buy authors list!
Thank you @orbitbooks @AlixEHarrow and @Tr4cyF3nt0n for #gifted my copy in exchange for review.
So this is my first week as a book blogger and its both terrifying and fascinating! I’m learning so many things but most of all I am having fun and reading some great books so lets take a look at some of these weeks note-worthy reads!
Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E.Harrow
First up is this amazing debut from Alix E. Harrow and what an amazing debut it is!
“How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.”
This is a novel about the power of stories and a young girl who grows up a world where doors can take you to other worlds. It is skilfully intertwined with the story of two young lovers who met and torn apart. The Ten Thousand Doors of January revolves around January Scaller. January was seven years old when she first found a Door. Years later, January starts forgetting about her brief encounter with that Door, until one day she stumbles upon a book that she believes her farther has left for her. Reading the book changes everything she thought she knew and she begins to discover the truths and surprises in the world surrounding her. Family, separation, longing and determination were some of the main themes contained in the novel.
“Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries. This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held… It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.”
There weren’t a lot of characters which can sometimes be risky for a writer as those characters need to be so well written, but Harrow pulled it off, I found them all to be fabulously written with each character having their own distinctive personality that felt sincere. I also loved how all the characters had flaws including the lead as it made them even more genuine.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is one of the most beautifully-written debuts I’ve ever read, and is unlike anything I have read before, I really adored it and would recommend for fantasy or word lovers.
“Words and their meanings have weight the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy. Even my own writings—so damnably powerless—may have just enough power to reach the right person and tell the right truth, and change the nature of things.”
Thanks to Net Galley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Want to find out more about the author?
Follow her on Instagram (@alix.e.harrow), Twitter (@AlixEHarrow) or Goodreads and keep up-to-date with any future publications!
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Kya Clark has been left all her life. Kya Clark has been left all her life. Slowly abandoned by those she loved and those she thought were always there for her, first it was her mother, then her siblings, and then her dad.
She grew up mainly alone, learning the ways of the Marsh to feed herself and hide from the authorities, befriending the animals, collecting mussels to sell to her only friend and companion, Jumpin’, and avoiding the town. The locals come to refer to her as the Marsh Girl, so used to being alone that she didn’t know how to interact much with other people. Fast forward many years later and Kya is accused of murdering the town golden boy.
Reading her story as she grew older, how she fell in love twice, had her heart broken by both men, following her humiliation and pain all the whilst trying to solve the mystery of who murdered Chase Andrews was ingenious and emotional.
“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behaviour until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.”
All this set in the marshes of coastal North Carolina. There’s something magical and incredibly atmospheric about the way Owens describes the South. She does not try to hide the areas shortcomings, but nor did she just put them down, she simply laid it bare for the world to see. And she did so in such an honest, balanced way that I don’t think anyone can refute her portrayal.
Beautiful prose, unforgettable characters—some flawed, some heroes, some you want to wrap your arms about in protection. I would recommend this, it is not a thriller or fast paced murder mystery but a beautifully woven story of nature, love and survival.
Did you know about Delia has her own real life experiences of murder mystery? Check out this article from Elle to find out more….
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
” Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.”*
This is the true story of how one woman’s pain, suffering and genetic cells have come to help millions upon millions of people and how her family come to learn the truth about what happened to the cells. This book taught me so much about they way people were treated, what hela cells are, where they came from, their importance and the woman behind them! I even put it as one of my choices for book club because I just can’t believe how little is known or celebrated about the woman behind the cells that have change the world as we know it! It is not an easy read and there are some harrowing scenes but the things that can be learnt from reading it are so interesting!