Weyward by Emilia Hart is a breathtakingly beautiful novel that explores the dangers of patriarchal control and celebrates the enduring power of the feminine. The narrative expertly intertwines the lives of three women separated by five centuries: Altha, a girl accused of witchcraft in the 17th century, Violet, a victim of sexual assault living in the 20th century, and Kate, a woman fleeing her abusive boyfriend in 2019.
The novel takes its title from Shakespeare’s description of the witches in Macbeth as “Weyward Sisters”. Altha, Violet, and Kate, all females from the Weyward line, have a deep connection to the natural world. Altha is a healer, gardener, and animal lover, but she does not use the term “witch” which is a word “invented by men, a word that brings power to those who speak it, not to those it describes.” When Violet inherits Altha’s cottage, she discovers her ancestor’s narrative before passing the cottage on to Kate, who in turn discovers Violet’s letters, piecing together the powerful family destiny.
I loved every word of this perfectly paced book which drips with the pain and joy of life. Altha, Violet, and Kate suffer tremendous hardships, but beneath their struggles is a wild strength and love of fairy tales that helps them vocalize the untold stories of all women. Fans of Alice Hoffman will love the writing style and uplifting message of this book which connects women across generations and lets them know they are not alone.
Weyward will draw you in and take hold of your imagination long after the final page has been turned.
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.