Thursday, March 2, 2023

*Review* Weyward by Emilia Hart


Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: March 7, 2023
Pages: 326

I am a Weyward, and wild inside.

2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.

1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family's grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives––and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.

Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's 
Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This story cycles through the POV of the three main characters, which was both compelling and super frustrating for me. It used the classic soap opera strategy of leaving each character at a pivotal point of their story to take us back to someone else for a bit. That's exactly the kind of thing that makes it so hard to put the book down, because you need to keep reading to get back to Person A to find out what the hell happened! I both loved and hated that aspect of the story. 

I would have loved to have a story that focused entirely on Altha. Like I think there's so much depth left in her story to be explored, probably because she is the furthest removed from the present so there's more blank spaces that my mind can't just fill in. But I also felt like in spite of being arrested and tried as a witch, her life as a whole was less awful than Violet and Kate's lives were. I wanted to get back to her story because it felt more happy and less repressive, and the things that were happening to Violet and Kate needed to be broken up with that levity. When Violet and Kate found their power though, everything became right with the world. 

A part of me also already wants to reread this book to see if I pick up on any details that I may have missed as significant the first time around knowing how things end for each of the characters, and I'm not normally inspired to read a book a second time anymore because there are already so many other books I want to read and there's just not enough time for that as it is, but this book I really do want to read again. 

Overall I give Weyward 4.86 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Emilia Hart is a British-Australian writer. She was born in Sydney and studied English Literature and Law at the University of New South Wales before working as a lawyer in Sydney and London. Emilia is a graduate of Curtis Brown Creative’s Three Month Online Novel Writing Course and was Highly Commended in the 2021 Caledonia Novel Award. Her short fiction has been published in Australia and the UK. She lives in London. You can follow Emilia on Twitter at @EmiliaHartBooks.

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