This is quite dark, and I think it would be perfect for fall/Halloween reading lists. I picked it up because I was intrigued by the "puritanical" society and because I've not read very many witch stories. My mother didn't allow me to engage with anything with witches in/on it when I was growing up, so you can see why this one might appeal to me as an adult. I grew up in a very conservative and religious household and would consider my childhood church fundamentalist. The way this society is set...
up with The Prophet being the ultra-revered religious and civic leader with total power over everyone in the town of Bethel, especially the women...I mean, I feel certain parts of this story deeply. In a lot of ways, I feel SEEN.
So anyway, this story definitely has a creep factor. The witches that live in the forbidden Darkwood forest are terrifying and incredibly powerful. There's this sense of dread that hangs over you while you're reading, and I found that both delicious and a little bit scary. Emmanuelle is a great character that carries a lot of weight and baggage in this story, and I really had no idea how things would end up. There are these wonderful nods to Salem and other places of long ago with the pyres and fires, and the patriarchal cult-like society totally gave me the creeps. It reminded me a lot of The Scarlet Letter and M. Night Shyamalan's movie The Village.
One thing I particular that I loved is that there is 100% a historical feel to the story in terms of clothing and lack of amenities, but I sometimes think these religious/cult-type stories give me a contemporary vibe too. This is certainly the case here and I was excited to hear the author mention on a podcast interview that there may be more stories featuring Emmanuelle and this world in the future.
What to read after The Year of the Witching?
You can find similar books in the "Read Also" column, or choose other free books by Alexis Henderson to read online