A Secret History of Witches

Louisa Morgan. Redhook, $25 (496p) ISBN 978-0-316-50855-1
Set in western Europe and spanning five generations, Morgan’s novel is a lengthy and repetitive novel that lacks intrigue and detail. The Orchiéres—Nanette, Ursule, Irene, Morwan, and Veronica—are a line of witches. Magic is passed down from mother to daughter, each one receiving her powers as she hits puberty. Each daughter is tasked with protecting the family’s secrets and ensuring that the line continues by giving birth to more daughters. While each woman’s story has individual elements that sets it apart from the others, each does not stray far from the formula of hitting puberty, discovering their power, fighting with their mothers, and finding a man to help them bear children. As far as the magical elements go, the incantations are unimaginative, coupled with clichés typical of witch stories, such as Nanette’s black feline companion and the emphasis on Ursule’s elderly and cloaked appearance when Morwan first meets her grandmother. The novel moves quickly through each generation’s story, leaving the reader with little attachment to these women and their struggles. The cast of supporting characters, and the male characters in particular, are not given enough room on the page to have any lasting impact on the reader, and their relationships to the Orchiéres are used primarily as vehicles for plot progression. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Open Ebook - 496 pages - 978-0-316-50856-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-1277-5
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