My summer TBR is all about witches! A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan is the first book from my summer TBR! This story begins in the year 1821 and travels all the way to 1937. In 1821, a family is fleeing France because of their power. The matriarch prophesizes their new home just before her last breath. The Orchires settle in Cornwall, hiding from a witch hunter. The power of the craft is passed on from mother to daughter. This is not just any story, it is an epic that spans five generations. First is Nanette, who uses the power to save her family. Second is Ursele, daughter of Nanette, who does not believe in the craft. Third is Irene, daughter of Ursele, who uses the power selfishly. Fourth is Morwen, daughter of Irene, who uses the power for love. Lastly, Veronica, daughter of Morwen, uses the power to turn the tide of World War II.
It is rare to find a fictional book which is so utterly rich in detail. This book has everything. Romance, fantasy, history, adventure, coming-of-age, and suspense. First of all, I love how the book spans five generations. It dives deep into the complexity of mother-daughter relationships and the sense of creating ones own identity. The book begins in a time where women are viewed as beneath men. It is mentioned that men want to hold the power of women, so this line of women use the craft to come into their own power. These women all have different strengths and the craft comes to them all differently. But ultimately, they all use the craft differently, which all magic comes at a price. (Que-Rumplestiltskin!)
One of the most prominent themes is ritual. This line of women has developed their own rituals. It is obvious that the author took inspiration from Wicca, as well as created her own imagination. However, based off of people I know who practice Wicca or Witchcraft, it is very individualistic. These rituals pertain to the Orchires, whether they are realistic or not.
This history is phenomenal. It changes with each generation and ties into important events that actually happened. Between the rituals, history, and relationships, this book completely bewitched me. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!