Reviews for The once and future witches

Publishers Weekly
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Harrow’s sophomore novel (after The Ten Thousand Doors of January) is a love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history. The Eastwood sisters—bookish Beatrice, stoic Agnes, and feral Juniper—each paid a high price to escape their abusive parents and harsh childhood in an alternate 1893 America where witchcraft is real, illegal, and all but extinct. When a legendary rose-covered tower manifests in New Salem, the Eastwood sisters reunite as adults, drawn to its power. Assisted by New Salem’s working-class and black communities, they set out to bring back real magic, but their actions accidentally boost a terrifying, repressive politician to fame. Harrow gestures at a diverse, gender-neutral vision of witchcraft, through which men cast spells in Latin, the Dakota Sioux use dances, and black witches use songs and constellations, but despite the inclusive background cast and manifesto moments (in Harrow’s imagining, a witch is “any woman who... fights for her fair share”), the racial and gender politics are oversimplified as the focus remains tightly on the sisters. Still, their path to empowerment is entertaining, and Harrow’s world is gleefully referential; folklore and history enthusiasts will have a feast. Agent: Kate McKean, Morhaim Literary. (Oct.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Harrow solidifies her status as an exceptional storyteller with her outstanding sophomore effort (after The Ten Thousand Doors of January, 2019). Once upon a time (1893, to be exact), there were three sisters, Bella, Agnes, and Juniper Eastwood. Estranged for years, the sisters are brought back together by a seemingly unnatural force. Could it have been witchcraft? No, for there has been no magic (and therefore no witches) since the Purge. When one of the sisters unknowingly calls forth a mythic tower known only from fairy tales, it’s proof that magic lives once more. As women of the town march for their right to vote, the Eastwood sisters are witching to regain even more rights for women. But every fairy tale has a villain, and this one will do whatever it takes to end witching once and for all. Using magic as a metaphor for women’s rights, this novel cleverly connects the dots between the suffragist movement of the past to the Me Too movement of today. Compelling, exhilarating, and magical, The Once and Future Witches is a must-read.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Harrow solidifies her status as an exceptional storyteller with her outstanding sophomore effort (after The Ten Thousand Doors of January, 2019). Once upon a time (1893, to be exact), there were three sisters, Bella, Agnes, and Juniper Eastwood. Estranged for years, the sisters are brought back together by a seemingly unnatural force. Could it have been witchcraft? No, for there has been no magic (and therefore no witches) since the Purge. When one of the sisters unknowingly calls forth a mythic tower known only from fairy tales, it’s proof that magic lives once more. As women of the town march for their right to vote, the Eastwood sisters are witching to regain even more rights for women. But every fairy tale has a villain, and this one will do whatever it takes to end witching once and for all. Using magic as a metaphor for women’s rights, this novel cleverly connects the dots between the suffragist movement of the past to the Me Too movement of today. Compelling, exhilarating, and magical, The Once and Future Witches is a must-read.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

There used to be witches, but plagues and purges came, along with fire—and now the witches are gone. Little charms endure, passed down through the generations, but these are worn down to nursery rhymes and old memories. Now in 1893, women look for power at the ballot box, and the New Salem Women's Association seeks suffragists to support their cause. On the spring equinox, the long-separated Eastwood sisters—James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna—all feel the energy that arrives in their city and start to use their positions in the women's movement to reclaim real magic. But there is a shadowy sickness in New Salem, and the sisters will need to form alliances throughout the city, discover lost witchcraft, and set down the pain of their childhood, before a dark power destroys the movement and their lives. The worldbuilding is richly detailed, inclusive, and enchanting, while still honoring the harsher history of civil rights and resistance. VERDICT Drawn from folklore and history, Harrow's (The Ten Thousand Doors of January) lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily forgotten.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton

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