Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: The Witches of New York

Goodreads Summary:

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

My Thoughts:

I love this cover.  And all things witchy. I love reading books with witches, ever since I read Anne Rice's Witching Hour (I still love that book!). 

This book was amazing, but terrifying. Not necessarily terrifying in a horror genre way, but more in a crimes against women way. I am not intending to be political by saying this either, I am referring only to the time period in which this book is set. As the description states, it is a time when "women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds" which is a true fact, albeit a sad one. It is horrifying in the same way that The Handmaid's Tale is- for women of today, modern women, with all of our rights and freedoms, to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, who were not allowed to read newspapers even. A time when women were always being sized up and judged, and if found to be different, sometimes labeled a witch. 

There were some pretty scary parts in this book - zealots of any brand are pretty darn scary, and this book has one or two. But the scary is outweighed by the beauty of the writing, the way the story unfolds, the characters themselves- Beatrice, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Quinn. Add in a raven (who is more than meets the eye) and I am sold on this story. The magic shop, the tea, the fortunes, the time frame, the ghosts - I loved it all.  I became immersed in this world and could have kept reading. 

These three women are tough and resourceful, strong and smart, and despite the problems and evils they encounter, are able to survive and bloom, maybe even stronger and better off than where they began. These characters are strong women, in a time that was tough on women. I definitely enjoyed this book, with these wonderful witchy women characters. 


  1. I really want to read this book because of you. Since Moth is from The Virgin Cure, do I have to read that book first?
    I'm totally diggin' Mercy in book five, Silver Borne. Her selflessness is wonderful and endearing.

    1. I hope you like it as much as I did! I have not read The Virgin Cure, and while I feel it could have filled in some backstory, it wasn't necessary in my opinion to read it first. I actually didn't know about The Virgin Cure until after I read this one. :)

      Yay! I love Mercy.

  2. I always feel like there aren't enough witch books, but maybe I just haven't encountered them. I'm going to see if I can get my hands on this one.


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