The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Imagine a world that had the Salem witch trials end very differently. Witchcraft was not only banished but outlawed in certain areas. Set in 1893 as women are fighting to get the vote, magic comes back. Three sisters are reunited and girl power reins supreme in a wild and crazy tale that weaves old folk lore and legends into passing down of magical spells. A unique world that the reader can be immersed in and truly believe could have happened based on how it is presented. This book would be a great read at any time of the year, but reading it closer to Halloween and November 2nd would boost it to a fantastic read, and this is why the review was postponed until the best time of year to read this book.
Character List/Book Summary:
James Juniper Eastwood – youngest of the Eastwood sisters, 17 years old, wanted for murder, gets arrested for murder and witchcraft after a few protests go haywire. Her fire and her spirit lead the organization and help keep magic alive
Agnes Amaranth Eastwood – middle of the Eastwood sisters, strongest of the three girls, weak in the summer because she started to not care and close her circle, becomes pregnant and that shifts her views and alliance to the organization
Beatrice Belladonna Eastwood – oldest of the Eastwood sisters, smartest, librarian, likes women more than men, fired from the library after the third speckle and a “concerned citizen” reports her to the library.
Mama Mags – grandmother to the Eastwood sisters, taught the girls witchcraft, died and Juniper had to bury her without any help.
Cady Stone – NSWA President, kicks Juniper out of after she uses witchcraft at the fair. Feels women will not get the right to vote if witchcraft comes back into the world
Mayor Worthington – Mayor of New Salem, the town without sin. Is loosing his position
Mr. Blackwell – director of the special collections, hired Bella. Supports the Sisters of Avalon. Had hoped to have a special arrangement marriage with Bella.
Dan – the Eastwood sisters’ cousin who their father gave the farm to when he died.
Jennie Lind – Cady’s secretary, broken nose. Joins Juniper at the fair and when the sisters decide to use witchcraft she is arrested too. She is taken to a different jail and has a special connection that helped her.
Grace Wiggin – head of the Women’s Christian Union. Juniper notices her shadow is not right, and a strange sense of magic is around her. Grew up in an orphanage.
Gideon Hill – mayoral candidate of New Salem. Juniper realizes his shadow is not right either, and eventually learns his true name. Adopted Grace Wiggins, visits Juniper in jail and tortures her. Starts the inquisition.
Cleopatra Quinn – a black journalist, becomes friendly with Bella but does not join the Sisters of Avalon due to an allegiance to another organization (the Daughters of Tituba)
Zina – midwife, witch who helps women in unwanted predicaments, Agnes pulls the tower into existence when she is getting medicine from Zina.
August Lane – a male who has magic and helps the Sisters of Avalon organize and push their agenda. Helps Agnes when she is hurt and continues to help the sisters as the book ends.