Call Number
Material Type
Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC MOR Adult Fiction Book
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 FICTION New books
Hornell Public Library 1 FANTASY New books

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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.
"At once sprawling and intimate, A Secret History of Witches deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters." --Jordanna Max Brodsky, author of The Immortals

Author Notes

Louisa Morgan is a pseudonym.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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.--McCammond-Watts, Heather Copyright 2017 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in western Europe and spanning five generations, Morgan's novel is a lengthy and repetitive novel that lacks intrigue and detail. The Orchiéres-Nanette, Ursule, Irene, Morwan, and Veronica-are a line of witches. Magic is passed down from mother to daughter, each one receiving her powers as she hits puberty. Each daughter is tasked with protecting the family's secrets and ensuring that the line continues by giving birth to more daughters. While each woman's story has individual elements that sets it apart from the others, each does not stray far from the formula of hitting puberty, discovering their power, fighting with their mothers, and finding a man to help them bear children. As far as the magical elements go, the incantations are unimaginative, coupled with clichés typical of witch stories, such as Nanette's black feline companion and the emphasis on Ursule's elderly and cloaked appearance when Morwan first meets her grandmother. The novel moves quickly through each generation's story, leaving the reader with little attachment to these women and their struggles. The cast of supporting characters, and the male characters in particular, are not given enough room on the page to have any lasting impact on the reader, and their relationships to the Orchiéres are used primarily as vehicles for plot progression. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

This historical novel by a pseudonymous author of award-winning sf named Louise Marley (The Child Goddess) is extremely ambitious in its time line, covering the lives of five generations of women. From Brittany to Cornwall and much of Great Britain, and from the mid-1800s to World War II, this tale revolves around the Orchiéres women who have a magical secret that they protect at any cost and who pass down their knowledge and experience from mother to daughter. In each subsequent generation, a new lesson is learned, and usually brought forward. -VERDICT While the plot plods a little bit in the beginning, and the jumps forward in time may disconcert casual readers, overall this compelling read will appeal to those who enjoyed the supernatural aspects of Katherine Howe's The Physick Book of -Deliverance Dane. Morgan's title, however, has more romance and a heavier emphasis on familial relationships.-Elizabeth McArthur, Bexar Cty. Digital Lib., BiblioTech, San Antonio © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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