A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.
Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation.
But the mob is only the start of their troubles. One man is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy he claims was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. Then things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle instead of the solution to all their problems.
The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.
Funny, tender and uplifting, the novel explores the formidable power that can be discovered in aging, found family and unlikely friendships. Marais’ clever prose offers as much laughter as insight, delving deeply into feminism, identity and power dynamics while stirring up intrigue and drama through secrets, lies and sex. Heartbreaking and heart-mending, it will make you grateful for the amazing women in your life.
This book hooked me with “five octogenarian witches” and “magical heist-gone-wrong”. It was just too tempting, and I was in the mood for a change of pace in my reading. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
I’ve seen several comparisons to The Golden Girls and Practical Magic, and they’re pretty accurate. These five witches may not be blood-related, but they’re most definitely a family and have been together since they were children. With five different personalities, a couple of them very strong ones, the women occasionally clash and go head to head, but love each other unconditionally. Their quips and banter (especially Jezebel’s comments and antics) kept me laughing throughout the book. With multiple POVs, I was never confused, and the recipes for potions at the end of some chapters are nice additions and cleverly written.
When the women are on the verge of losing their home, a magical heist and a dangerous deal seem to be their only solutions to staying off the streets, but it may be more than they bargained for. I was enthralled by the descriptions of their quirky house that included so many rooms – a lab, greenhouse, and very unusual fireproof gameroom among them. Persephone, teen daughter of the mayor and an ambitious young feminist, is a wonderful addition to the story and teaches the witches about the wonders of the internet and social media. She’s accompanied by her Italian Greyhound, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I loved the way the witches bring her into their circle and become kind of surrogate grandmothers.
This is a light-hearted read I thoroughly enjoyed that also contains a bit of a mystery. I adored each of these women, and this quote from the novel describes them perfectly – “Aging Gracefuly is a bore. Aging disgracefully is something to be proud of.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
About the Author:
Bianca Marais cohosts the popular podcast The Sh*t No One Tells You About Writing, aimed at emerging writers. She was named the winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies in 2021. She is the author of two novels, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh, as well as the Audible Original The Prynne Viper. She lives in Toronto with her husband and fur babies.
Author website: https://www.biancamarais.com/
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