A Secret History Of Witches

A sweeping historical saga that traces five generations of fiercely powerful mothers and daughters – witches whose magical inheritance is both a dangerous threat and an extraordinary gift.

Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mere Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.

Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew. The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.

But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever – not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.


A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas

The Fog by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Kenard Pak

—WAMC Bookshelf: The Bookloft book picks

Epic in scope and heartbreakingly tender in its portrayal of mothers and daughters through time, this novel spans five generations of witches. Starting in France in 1821, a family of misfit gypsies passes down their magical knowledge through the generations via a scrying crystal and dreamy, half-forgotten spells. The historical backdrops are well researched and it’s fascinating to glimpse the rise of modern Europe up through WWII. These clever witches play a critical and surprising role in the outcome of that war. Each chapter feels like a complete short story, and the tales are woven together with the enduring threads of family, healing, love, and magic. Each witch has her own prejudices and tragedies to conquer, and Morgan deftly characterizes each woman as unique in both flaws and supernatural gifts. The magic itself is subtle and rarely used, so most of the book focuses on the deeply held beliefs and complicated relationships within a family that values the profound elements of nature and the enduring power of women versus a society that demeans and threatens both. Recommended for fans of Nora Roberts’ O’Dwyer trilogy and readers of feminist fantasy.