If you’re looking for a historical, YA fantasy to keep you company, then you’ve hit upon gold with Alix E. Harrow’s newest, The Once and Future Witches.
The Once and Future Witches is the story of three sisters, the bond these sisters share, and the lengths they will go to to protect each other, even when life (and a very cruel daddy) has done its level best to estrange them. It is also the story of witchcraft and suffrage and how (in the sense of this story) they equal one and the same thing — power in a world dominated by men.
James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna are tenuously reunited when James Juniper finds her way to New Salem, and an ancient magic is reawakened at a suffragist rally. June is eager to join the suffragists and even more eager for the women’s movement to become the witches’ movement. Agnes and Bella are more hesitant to jump into the trenches with their youngest sister, who has never given much thought to the consequences. Still, it isn’t long before consequences or no, even Bella and Agnes can’t deny that the world they live in is fundamentally and violently unjust. To remain silent is to forgo the chance to evoke change and remain at the mercy of men who are only too willing to take. The themes in this novel (voter manipulation, male supremacy, and racism, to name but a few) are timely and relevant and draw into stark focus that, while much has changed in the past century, our world continues to bear shockingly many similarities to New Salem. The Once and Future Witches is deeply thought-provoking with lines that read like a battle cry loud enough to resonate into our 21st-century lives.
“I am a witch.” Agnes shouts it a second time, louder, flinging her voice into the night. […] “And so is every woman who says what she shouldn’t or wants what she can’t have, who fights for her fair share.”
Book: The Once and Future Witches
Publication Date: October 15th, 2020
Age Range: 15 – adult