Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Five Books About Witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness (Penguin trade paperback, 2011).

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks.

But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Wicked Girls: a novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill (Balzer + Bray hardcover, 2010).
Ann Putnam Jr. is the queen bee. When her father suggests a spate of illnesses in the village is the result of witchcraft, she puts in motion a chain of events that will change Salem forever.

Mercy Lewis is the beautiful servant in Ann's house who inspires adulation in some and envy in others. With her troubled past, she seizes her only chance at safety.

Margaret Walcott, Ann's cousin, is desperately in love. She is torn between staying loyal to her friends and pursuing a life with her betrothed.

With new accusations mounting against the men and women of the community, the girls will have to decide: Is it too late to tell the truth?

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (Hyperion/Voice, 2009).

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. 

As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest--to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Witch Child by Celia Rees (Candlewick Press, 2009).

Welcome to the world of young Mary Newbury, a world where simply being different can cost a person her life.

Hidden until now in the pages of her diary, Mary’s startling story begins in 1659, the year her beloved grandmother is hanged in the public square as a witch. Mary narrowly escapes a similar fate,
only to face intolerance and new danger among the Puritans in the New World. 

How long can she hide her true identity? Will she ever find a place where her healing powers will not be feared?

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow Books, 1986).

In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.


  1. If your list ever goes beyond 5: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Dahl's The Witches

    1. I thought about those, Lizzie, but decided to go with titles that might not be as well known.

    2. Oh, and thanks for stopping by!!!

  2. Great choices! Witch Child has such a special place in my heart; it's one of those books that's influenced me hugely since I first read it in my late childhood/early teens. I love The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Howl's Moving Castle, too (have you seen the Studio Ghibli film? It's wonderful), and considering A Discovery of Witches has been sat on my shelf for a while I really should get around to it soon!