Friday, December 15, 2017

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

3.5 Star

After Grandmére 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.

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.

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

The secret history of witches spans multi generations so the thread of the story is the theme rather than the people themselves. I enjoy this kind of saga if I feel the characters are interesting and have brought something new to the story.

I found though that we probably had a couple of extra generations here that didn't add much of note to the plot. I don't really remember the generations between Nanette and Veronica except for "lady" Irene.  

It's unfortunate because the novel started off really strongly with a powerful witch Ursule who died to protect the rest of her family when they were being persecuted. The family then relocates to England where the female descendants were still gifted with the power in some ways but didn't seem to be using it for much, good or bad.  They all seemed to be afraid of the men in the family or at least they bowed to their wishes in that they hid their powers from the world. There was of course a need for some secrecy, they didn't want to be caught again but it seems like they were a subdued version of what they could have been.

There were only two women that stood out for me.  Irene, though the epitomy of unpleasant, at least she decided to use her powers to make her own decisions and Veronica, who quietly found a way to use her own for the greater good.

There were some wonderful scenes that stood out and characters I clung to and overall I got pleasing satisfaction from the story- I just wish that each generation had brought something more impactful. 

Thank you to Orbit Books for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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