Women or Witches?

Fantasy and history are some of my favorite genres.

It takes you away from your everyday life, it tackles the big issues of good and evil, your responsibility to act and it is often full of strong female characters! Combine that with alternate history and that Jungian archetype the Witch, well you are in for a ride. 

Alexis Henderson: The Year of the Witching

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother's union with an outsider cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood where she is confronted by a different truth and forced to rethink everything.

This is a strong debut, with a feminist take on the traditional battle between the Church and Nature/Witches/Women. If you like The Handmaid’s Tale you should try this.

Alix E. Harrow: The Once and Future Witches

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be before the burnings, now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. But when the estranged Eastwood sisters -- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna -- join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote or live -- the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magic, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

Once upon a time an author used the old folklore to create a new and relevant take on the power of women, when they join forces and hold fast. A story with deep roots and new shoots, I was drawn in by the power of the three. 

Stacey Halls: The Familiars

Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a 17 year old noblewoman, is with child again after 3 miscarriages and her husband is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft and in 1612 that is horrifying. Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, time is running out and both their lives are at stake.

This novel is very well written and researched. It is a story of friendship and trying to both survive and carve out a safe space in a society that will give you nothing. The story is based on real people and the Pendle Hill Witch Trials in 1612.