Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Witch Books for Halloween?


I’ve always had a bit of fondness for stories with witches in them – perhaps I was one in a previous life! My personal interests lie mostly in herbal studies, and I expect most women marked as witches in prior days were nothing more than miscast healers. Such is the case with one of my favorite classic books by Mary Stewart, Thornyhold.


During Gilly Ramsey’s lonely childhood, the occasional brief visits of her mother’s cousin were a delight, seeming like visits of a fairy godmother. Years later, when Gilly inherits Thornyhold, her house, she discovers that her cousin, with her still room and herbalist practices—and her undoubted powers—had long been known to the locals as a witch.
Another favorite new paranormal collection is the Witchcraft Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell. Set in the modern day and now four books strong, the story begins when Texas witch, Lily Ivory, opens a popular vintage clothing store on the west coast. As one of San Francisco’s resident witches, searching for hidden clothing treasures can sometimes lead to dangerous discoveries, not to mention a complicated love life with at least two hunky men. There is more than one way to make magic as this author so aptly demonstrates!


And who better to throw a little romance into spell-casting than Nora Roberts? The Three Sisters Island trilogy begins with Dance Upon the Air and is the strongest story of the three books.

  
Publishers Weekly: An enchanted island off the coast of Massachusetts, Three Sisters was formed as a sanctuary by three frightened witches fleeing persecution. Although the witches found peace on the island, each of them entered into an ill-fated relationship and died tragically. Now their descendants Nell Channing, Ripley Todd, and Mia Devlin have to break the pattern set by their foremothers, or the island will sink. This first book focuses on Nell, a newcomer to the island who escaped her abusive husband by staging her death. Nell is unaware that she's a witch, but she is instinctively drawn to the island and secures a job as a chef in the cafe‚ owned by Mia. Between coping with her bleak memories and deciding whether she can give her heart to Zach Todd, Ripley's brother and the island sheriff, Nell has little time to digest the discovery that she's a witch. In the end, however, Nell will have to come to terms with her newfound powers so that she can fight her all-too-demented husband. It's probably witchcraft that Roberts can turn out so many books and still create something that's sexy and charming...
Keep reading with Heaven and Earth, which has a particularly well-cast and attractive hero in the form of paranormal researcher, MacAllister Booke. (I bought the Kindle copy and the formatting was dreadful, so returned it for refund and wrote to the publisher. I would not recommend buying it from Amazon until someone wiggles their nose over this issue.)


Then wrap up the story and the 300-year curse with Face the Fire. (I read this one on a Chromebook via my library's Overdrive Cyber-shelf and loved the book formatting on this platform - I'll be doing that again!) I also plan to buy all three in paperback for my home library.


And for all you diehard Nora Roberts fans, her latest book releases on October 29 and is available for pre-order now. You can get a signed copy of Dark Witch at Turn the Page Bookstore (which the author owns). Read more about the book by clicking here.


Now leave me comments about your favorite Halloween reading, witchy or not. So mote it be!

Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, has been known to make magic in the kitchen, has a wicked sense of humor, but rarely flies a broom these days.




17 comments :

  1. Thornyhold has long been one of my favourite books! It's so sad at the beginning, but I love the way Gilly gradually finds both herself and happiness, and I love the gently creepy atmosphere Stewart conjured up. Thanks for reminding me!

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    1. One of my all-time faves!

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    2. I'll have to check it out! It's been forever and a day since I've read Mary Stewart.

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  2. I loved Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I'm excited by this fall's TV lineup which includes lots of witches and vampires. Magic appeals to readers because most of us, at some point or other, wished we had a magic wand!

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    1. I don't watch TV - the occasional DVD is about it for me, and I do notice some of Nora Roberts books have been made into films.

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  3. I've read s number of books by Mary Stewart, but don't recall Thornyhold. But then, that was a long, long time ago. :-) I am really not into all the vampires and witches and zombies, although I did enjoy The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. I would not have picked up the book on my own, but a writer friend highly recommended it, so I got it. It was very well written and one of her best books.

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    1. I'm not big into the paranormal stuff either, Maryann, but I've always been drawn to witchcraft. I suppose because of that healer connection and the persecuted woman angle. And, as Diana points out, who doesn't crave a bit more power? ;)

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    2. I had to work hard to NOT mention the Merlin trilogy because the true witches in that series were quite bad.

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  4. Always interesting to see how varied people's tastes are. I did enjoy the movie Practical Magic, but I think my tastes are totally different when it comes to suspending disbelief on the screen vs on the page. I was things "real" when I read them, but accept Hollywood special effects when I'm watching a movie. For me, the least bit of 'woo-woo' in a book has me looking for something else. Or hoping there's a scientific explanation for it at the end of the book. And, as another example of different strokes, I don't care for Nora, but I LOVE J.D. Robb.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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    1. I'm not a big romance reader and didn't really start reading Roberts until a few years ago... that only sporadically. (I think my first book was Angels Fall.) I've avoided JD Robb titles because they fare futuristic - less fave than even romance. ;) I've started reading more of Roberts' books since deciding to explore the romance genre in my blogging here. After reading dozens of Regency novels, it's natural to examine how the modern romances were influenced. I'd say the biggest factor is really good dialogue - that's the major takeaway in romance and authors could benefit from studying that angle alone.

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    2. LOL. And I can remember after reading my first Nora Roberts book thinking, "well, that was a pretty good mystery; why did she have to add all that gross sex?"

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    3. Gross? Nora's really quite mild.

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    4. I think so, too, having now read dozens of other modern romances. I'm definitely desensitized at this point. LOL. Although I'll never be comfortable with too much obscene language and kink. Or book covers that show too much graphic detail. Really turns me off.

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  5. My favorite witch? Kim Novak, of course.

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  6. I've enjoyed Deborah Harkness's "A Discovery of Witches" and "Shadow of Night". The latter takes place in Elizabethan London, which was an added bonus for me since I've studied the Tudors since I was 10.

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  7. I forgot to mention that as well as Thornyhold, I also love The Ivy Tree and Touch Not the Cat. Neither involve witches or witchcraft per se, but they do have a similar 'otherworldly' feel to them. And Stewart's Merlin series (Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills) are pure joy!

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  8. Totally agree about the Merlin series - it's one hubbo and I read again and again. We even illustrated The Last Enchantment for an art show.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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