The Witch Haven is a historical fiction witchcraft mash up which combines into a story about friendship and sacrifice. As someone who has been craving a good witchy story, The Witch Haven has been an utter joy. It’s perfect timing for the spooky season and the sequel is out soon! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.
Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.
Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Let me just start by saying that I loved the historical fiction setting in The Witch Haven. Not only are there historical references to the working conditions and past events, but there’s a distinct atmosphere. You can feel it in the descriptions, but also in the mood in the air. So right off the bat, if you love magical historical fictions, you’ll have to read The Witch Haven. Apart from the setting, The Witch Haven is a story about power and promise. In the beginning, it begins with Frances’s power. The ways it can feel to unlock pieces of yourself which were hidden.
In The Witch Haven, this has to be my favorite piece of the story. To watch Frances bloom and see her own potential. As a girl, Frances is used to being made to feel small. So to have sudden access to this power is revolutionary and also restricting. The Witch Haven delves both into the ‘mundane’ things you can use magic for as well as the spells and powers that change worlds. Once Frances is welcomed into the magical world, she must also learn the rules. The questions of who is worthy of saving and what is the rule of fate and destiny.
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The Witch Haven surrounds forbidden knowledge and curious minds. And Frances has to figure out exactly what she wants to do with her powers. The promise of harnessing the power within. Thematically and story wise, this was my favorite element of The Witch Haven. And if you love stories about individual powers coming alive, or discovering our potential, then you have to read this series starter. Peyton Smith asks us what the cost of our power is. And what the line is between love and power, protection and control. Find The Witch Haven on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.