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Topic: are there any historical fiction books on witches

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Subject: are there any historical fiction books on witches
Date Posted: 1/8/2008 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
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I've been busy with pirates, but I'd like to find out more about witches in general. real life one's, historically legend or whatever. any suggestions

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Right away, the classic, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, comes to mind.

I haven't read it yet, having recently found it at a book sale, but I've heard good things about The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge. It takes place in England in the time of Charles I. From the inside flap: "The story opens with the appearance of Francis Leyland in the little village of Flowercote. Francis Leylad comes as an itinerant painter, but in reality he is a nobelman and a Royalist spy. He meets the Haslewood family who are of Puritan Sympathies, and young Jenny Haslewood who is to remain in his memory through the hard years of war until he returns."

Another I haven't read - The Witch of Cologne by Tobsha Learner.

From Publisher's Weekly: " In a sensuous 17th-century saga set in German Catholic Cologne, Learner (Quiver) transports readers to a time when studying the ancient Kabbalah could prove deadly for a young Jewish midwife. Ruth bas Elazar Saul is the headstrong daughter of the chief rabbi of Deutz, Cologne's Jewish ghetto. She undertakes the forbidden course of mystical study, her Sephardic mother's legacy, before absconding to Amsterdam to escape an arranged marriage. There, Ruth acquires the contemporary midwifery skills she will combine with her sacred learning, and upon her return to Cologne she delivers wealthy burghers' babies using new lifesaving methods, earning a reputation for more than medical genius. Word of her skills travels quickly, and as the Spanish Inquisition stretches its tentacles to the Rhineland, Ruth is arrested for sorcery by the sadistic archbishop Carlos Vicente Solitario, whose persecution of her is fueled by a stymied youthful obsession with her mother. Ruth's keen intelligence and bravery in prison win her an ally, Canon Detlef von Tennen, who falls passionately in love with the "Jewess." The two marry, and Learner has readers rooting for the survival of their unlikely alliance. This steamy, riveting page-turner is also a paean to the triumph of a woman's spirit."

I searched "witches" at HistoricalFiction.org and found a number of threads, including one on The Burning Time by Robin Morgan. See this discussion.


Date Posted: 1/8/2008 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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Date Posted: 1/8/2008 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
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There's a wonderful book for young adults entitled The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare.  It was a newbery Medal Winner way back in the 1970's.  Also Cynthia Rees has written a book entitled Witch Child.  Also a young adult title.

Subject: Witches in fiction
Date Posted: 1/8/2008 9:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

The Three Sisters Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, has a woman accused of witch craft in it.

No Rest for Witches by Mary Janice Davidson etal

Son of a Witch and Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
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The Witch's Trinity: A Novel
Erika Mailman

It's on my wishlist, I think it's historical fiction.

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2007
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There's  Susannah Morrow by Megan Chance. I haven't read it yet. But it looks really good.

Date Posted: 1/9/2008 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
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Genie, thanks for the link to the historical fiction website. it looks awesome.

Date Posted: 1/12/2008 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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OK, I was in the middle of keying a response on a series I learned about this a.m. when I got booted off PBS. Ergh!

I was researching something else entirely when I came across the Catherine de Medici series by Susan Carroll. Apparently, there's lot of emphasis on witchcraft. The series begins with The Dark Queen, and I think there are currently 4 books:

The Dark Queen

The Courtesan

The Silver Rose

The Huntress


Date Posted: 1/13/2008 2:50 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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I'd second the Dark Queen.  How about the Mist of Avalon?  Not exactly witches, more wise women.

Date Posted: 1/14/2008 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
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thanks for all the suggestions. I shall begin the process

Date Posted: 1/20/2008 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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I have both The Courtesan and The Witch of CologneThe Courtesan is unpostable.  Frustrating as hell since that's the way I got it from someone on PBS, but oh well.  Anyway, Joanne, if you want them both, I'll send them to you.  I need to clear out my bookshelf since we're moving soon.

Date Posted: 4/27/2009 5:59 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2009
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There are two HF  books dealing with witches called The Burning Times.  The one I really like is by Jeanne Kalogridis, but the other by Robin Morgan is worth reading.  I also recommend a historical fantasy by R. Garcia y Robertson called The Spiral Dance.

If you're willing to read a HF with lesbian characters who are witches, The Mandrake Broom by Jess Wells is quite amazing.


Date Posted: 4/27/2009 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
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I have one on my TBR that fits the bill, but since I haven't read it yet I can't vouch for whether it's any good. :) Maybe someone else knows?

The Oracle Glass : A Novel
Author: Judith Merkle Riley
Seventeenth-century Paris. Geneviève is a skinny, precocious girl with a mind full of philosophy and the remarkable power to read the swirling waters of an oracle glass. Left for dead by her family, she is taken in by the ingenious occultist La Voisin, who rules a secret society of witches that manipulates the rich and the scandalous all the way up to the throne. Tutored by La Voisin, Geneviève creates a new identity for herself--as the mysterious Madame de Morville, rumored to be one hundred fifty years old.
Soon, even the reigning mistress of the Sun King himself consults Madame de Morville on what the future holds for her. And as Madame de Morville, Geneviève can revel in what women are usually denied--power, an independent income, and the opportunity to speak her mind. But beneath her intelligence and wit, and in the face of unexpected love, Geneviève is driven by the obsessed spirit of revenge....

Date Posted: 6/5/2009 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
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The Bell Witch,  by Brent Monahan

Not a fiction but a good read, creepy, but good.  I just posted my copy to another member who had it on their wishlist but I don't believe the list is that long for it.  Based on true events in Tennessee in the 1800 (I believe)

Date Posted: 6/6/2009 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2008
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I'm reading Susannah Morrow by Megan Chance right now and I am realy enjoying it.  It is about a fictional family during the Salem witch trials. 

Date Posted: 6/6/2009 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I was actually going to mention the Oracle Glass.  I like Judith Merkle Riley a lot and that's my fave of hers.  It was juicy in all the right ways, just dark enough and gives a really vivid account of life in the Paris of Louis XIV.  Its got romance, revenge, intrigue, a lot of good stuff.  And La Voisin is one of the main characters, she was supposedly the head of an infamous coven in Paris at the time.

Date Posted: 6/8/2009 3:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/1/2009
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.. by Katherine Howe.. is a back and forth narrative between the Salem witch trials and modern day. Worth your time.

And I've heard only good things about The Heretic's Daughter by Michelle Moran


And as for the Susan Carroll books mentioned above, there is also a Fifth to the series coming in July 2009

"The Twilight of A Queen"