I’ve been having a fantastic time putting together my Curated Bookshelf every month, but there are some themes where I just can’t find 12 books for it (yet). So I’ve decided to share these shorter lists on Mondays (most Mondays, at least). I hope you enjoy!
I’m not a fan of Halloween, but I am a fan of witches! I attribute this to an early love of fantasy books since I started reading them when I was ten and was easily and quickly enchanted by all the magic. Still waiting to come into my magic. Didn’t happen at 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 25, 30, or 35, so maybe 40? Anyways, witches are a year-round thing for me, but Halloween-time seems to be the most appropriate time to bring them into the conversation. Though I’d still rather be a witch than read about them.
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
I think Morwen was probably the first witch I ever encountered, though I can’t discount any from any of the books, picture or otherwise, my mom used to read to me when I was very young. She was such a lovely witch, and I loved that she has a multitude of cats. Hmm, maybe she’s why I wanted to be a witch in the first place. I wouldn’t mind a house full of cats, but I think my one cat would take issue with feline friends.
The Dark Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop
Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions.
Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence–and corruption.
Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men–sworn enemies–know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love–and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining…
I mean, there’s one character who is called Witch, as she’s an incarnation of Witch so she’s a witch. An extremely powerful witch. There’s even a holiday devoted to her. I loved the magic system in this trilogy, and it’s what drew me in re-read after re-read, but I can’t deny there’s definitely a Witch in these pages.
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
This is more properly just an epic high fantasy series, but women with power are called witches. Well, they refer to themselves with the more stately name Aes Sedai, but, to most people, especially those who fear and/or despise them, they’re witches. Considering I spent a great number of years reading these books and loving these powerful, though highly manipulative among other terrible things, women, it’s no real surprise my desire to be a witch has remained so strong since I started reading these in high school.
In My Attic by Lina Hansen
Aunt Eve is dead – murdered – and Myrtle has inherited the Witch’s Retreat, a Bed and Breakfast in the idyllic British village of Avebury. As Myrtle bumbles along in search of a murderer, she uncovers secrets more shocking than death: a hidden magical relic, a coven of amateur witches, and modern witch hunters on the prowl.
In My Attic is a new take on the cozy mystery. Think trainee Miss Marple channelling the twenty-first century – with a paranormal twist.
I think this was the first witchy indie read for me, and it did not disappoint. This is a mystery centered around the Witch’s Retreat, a B&B in a sleepy English town that hosts, well, witches. When the owner mysteriously dies, it’s up to her no-nonsense niece to take over and figure out what happened to her beloved aunt and mother-figure. There are some delightful witchy bits to this story, some ghosts, a zombie plant, and a fascinating cat, but it’s delightfully small town cozy.
Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece
At the age of eleven, Mel Smith’s life found its purpose when she met Sarah Ross. Ten years later, Sarah’s sudden death threatens to break her. To fulfill a final promise to her best friend, Mel travels to an idyllic small town nestled in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains. Yet Morgan’s Gap is more than a land of morning mists and deep forest shadows.
There are secrets that call to Mel, in the gaze of the gnarled and knowing woman everyone calls Granny, in a salvaged remedy book filled with the magic of simple mountain traditions, and in the connection, she feels to the Ross homestead and the wilderness around it.
With every taste of sweet honey and tart blackberries, the wildwood twines further into Mel’s broken heart. But a threat lingers in the woods—one that may have something to do with Sarah’s untimely death and that has now set its sight on Mel.
The wildwood is whispering. It has secrets to reveal—if you’re willing to listen…
What was really fun about this book is that the cover and description didn’t make me immediately think of it as a witchy read. It made me think of Garden Spells and all the delightful magical realism in that book. Set in a small mountain town, I thought it would be magical and secretive. I didn’t expect just how witchy this is, but the main character, Mel, slowly becomes a wisewoman in a community where numerous men and women live with magic, bringing it straight into the community.
The Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher
Persephone May has been alone her entire life. Abandoned as an infant and dragged through the foster care system, she wants nothing more than to belong somewhere. To someone. However, Persephone is as strange as she is lonely. Unexplainable things happen when she’s around—changes in weather, inanimate objects taking flight—and those who seek to bring her into their family quickly cast her out. To cope, she never gets attached, never makes friends. And she certainly never dates. Working odd jobs and always keeping her suitcases half-packed, Persephone is used to moving around, leaving one town for another when curiosity over her eccentric behavior inevitably draws unwanted attention.
After an accidental and very public display of power, Persephone knows it’s time to move on once again. It’s lucky, then, when she receives an email from the one friend she’s managed to keep, inviting her to the elusive Wile Isle. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. However, upon arrival, Persephone quickly discovers that Wile is no ordinary island. In fact, it just might hold the very things she’s been searching for her entire life.
Answers. Family. Home.
And some things she did not want. Like 100-year-old curses and an even older family feud. With the clock running out, love might be the magic that saves them all.
Well, I mean “witch” is in the title. This is about a young woman who grew up in the foster system, but magical things happen to her all the time, keeping her constantly on the move. Until she’s invited to the practically deserted Wile Isle where a few people still live, bringing her into the home of sister witches. But they’re not the only ones. There’s another witchy family, and the two are seemingly at war with each other, with fledgling witch Persephone caught between them just when she’s finally found a home.
The Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper
So far there are two books in this series: Payback’s a Witch and From Bad to Cursed. While the first better fits in with Halloween, I’m loving that each book seems to take one a new season. The first is set during the days leading up to Halloween and features a tournament between the four founding families, all of whom are the only families in town with magic. The second is set during the days leading up to Beltane and involves a mystery, and enemies working together. There’s a delightful amount of magic in these books as none of them are particularly shy about using it.