A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
Set in Europe this story follows a family of witches spanning five generations and chronicles how the magic is passed down from mother to daughter and their efforts to keep their craft a secret. I really did not care for this book, it lacked any detail and intrigue. The story of each daughter just seemed like the same story repeated over again with minor alterations of detail. Girl is puzzled by secrecy of mother, receives her powers at puberty, fights with mother, finds baby daddy, bears daughter, repeat. The story was so bland and void of detail it almost felt like reading a textbook, even the suspenseful parts with a fiery witch hunter on their trail just fizzled out to nothing. My feminist soul was also cringing the entire time. I recognize that during this time period women had very few rights, but this family it set up right at the beginning to be a matriarchal society with the grandmother at the head whose orders are followed by all, including the men. Then upon her death all of a sudden we forget about all that and we resort back to sexist gender roles. Our one protagonist at one point when finding she is pregnant actually thinks “she was breeding”…..what?? I was looking forward to a story full of strong women doing awesome witchy things, nope. They can do all sorts of crazy things at the tip of a hat, yet still meekly follow the orders of the men around them…who are in full knowledge of their capabilities. Found that extremely hard to accept. And the sexism is not only limited to the women, the men are also described as being incapable of crying or really any emotion at all, get those gender stereotypes out of here! We are talking about a book with witches and magic, how about a little mutual respect and equality within the family. The book wasn’t even saved by interesting descriptions of magic for me. There was no consistency with the magic system , it worked sometimes and appeared to have limitless power, and then didn’t for no particular reason, and back and forth. The magical elements were just extremely unimaginative in general and didn’t hold any interest. Flat characters, static plot and loads of sexism, I’d give this read a pass.