A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
Tis the season of the witch, is it not? It seems witches have been a common theme in many of the books I’ve read this month, but since I like to choose my books based on the season, I suppose it’s not all too surprising.
I find witch stories spell binding. Ha, see what I did there?
But what I mean is that there are usually so many facets to the story. The woman’s personal details, who she is, her upbringing, etc. There is often a strong helping of gender inequality, because isn’t there always! Sometimes the stories take on a strong supernatural/fantasy twist, which is fun. But often, we can find stories that are steeped in honored Wiccan traditions, full of faith and connection to mother nature (these are my favorite). When all of these details come together, the author ends up weaving a deeply emotional and empathetic story. Women everywhere can relate in some manner and the complex stories keeps me turning the pages to learn more about these women!
The Secret History of Witches was right up my alley.
The Premise: the book follows 5 generations of witches. Each section of the book is named after each witch. We start with Ursule, just as she is dying to save her family. Then we move on to her daughters, and one of their daughters and her daughter…. Each experience is unique, but of course they all go through some similar things as they come into the craft. Each woman is very much her own person (and not all of them are extremely likable). As the reader, we get to experience their lives, understand the choices they made and maybe learn a little bit about ourselves as we do so. This book even touches on WWII, which adds an interesting plot element for a witch story.
While this book did include some supernatural powers (mostly scrying), I have come to realize that any mode of healing, self care or even intelligence was at some point seen as witchcraft. Women often have a special gift for nurturing (ourselves and others) that make us open to intuition and healing that men can’t always understand. So while you may never have considered yourself a witch, you have probably fit the vague and ever-changing definition at some point.
Reading this made me what to reconnect with my study of herbs, to reignite my love for creating my own home remedies and to tune into my own inner power.
Happy Samhain Witches!