There is a definite witch themed trend in publishing at the moment. I’ve seen a lot of books with a focus around witches and witchcraft in various forms, so I thought I’d share some I really enjoyed reading.
My favourite take on the genre is books that celebrate witchcraft as women’s innate power, that celebrate feminism. Through the centuries, cries of ‘Witch!’ and being accused of witchcraft was used to silence and repress women that shone brighter than others, women that didn’t fit into conventional society norms, women who just wanted to do something different with their lives.
These are all stories that despite the power of patriarchal fear and dominance, show women in a strong light. They take the label of witch and make it positive.
5 Feminist Witch Themed Books
/ Hex by Jenni Fagan
This is an imagining of a real event – Geillis Duncan, a 15-year-old girl was murdered during the North Berwick witch trials in 1591. The powerful lies of King James VI of Scotland cost so many women their lives. Despite its grim tale, its exploration of transformation and feminism is captivating. A great read.
/ Cackle by Rachel Harrison
For something more light-hearted, Cackle is the most fantasy based book on the list (it features a talking spider) but it has such a feel-good message about embracing differences and female empowerment and growth, it will resonate with a lot of readers. Set in the present day, it features a wonderfully sarcastic Annie who you will want to be friends with by the end.
/ Weyward by Emilia Hart
This book spans centuries and is focused on the women of the Weyward family who don’t all realise the true power and inner strength that runs in their veins until they are put in testing situations. From Kate in 2019 to Altha in 1619 – via Violet in 1942 – we discover how their stories are linked in this emotive and engrossing story.
/ The Familiars by Stacey Halls
Referencing the most famous of the English witch trials – the Pendle witch trails of 1612. In The Familiars we meet the fiesty and amazingly named Fleetwood Shuttleworth who sets out to save her friend from persecution and learn a few things about her own power along the way.
/ The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
Also featuring the Pendle witch trials as its witch-based reference, The Craftsman is not an historical novel, its a modern take on the theme, which is why I included it here. Florence Lovelady is a PC in the police force in the 1970s and works her way up the ranks. While investigating a case, her path crosses with some local ‘witches’ and she explores her own inner strength.
So there’s my list of 5 powerful, feminist witch themed books for you to enjoy, if you haven’t already ! What others would you add here? Let me know!