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The Year Of The Witching by Alexis Henderson

Published : 23rd July 2020

Publisher : Bantam Press

Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback, Paperback

Genre : Historical Fiction/Dystopian

* All words highlighted in Grey are links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites.


Born on the fringes of Bethel, Immanuelle does her best to obey the Church and follow Holy Protocol. For it was in Bethel that the first Prophet pursued and killed four powerful witches, and so cleansed the land.

And then a chance encounter lures her into the Dark wood that surrounds Bethel.

It is a forbidden place, haunted by the spirits of the witches who bestow an extraordinary gift on Immanuelle. The diary of her dead mother . . .

Fascinated by and fearful of the secrets the diary reveals, Immanuelle begins to understand why her mother once consorted with witches. And as the truth about the Prophets, the Church and their history is revealed, so Immanuelle understands what must be done. For the real threat to Bethel is its own darkness.

Bethel must change. And that change will begin with her . . .

Thank you @Bantampress, @PenguinRandomHouse and @RandomTTours for this wickedly spellbinding tale.

My Review

Let those who have raised a hand to me reap the harm they sow, Let the shadows snuff their light. Let their sins defy them.

As per history dictates, in this tale men are in power and women are to obey and do as they are told. Everyone bows to the Prophets of the holy church within Bethel. According to there scriptures, four powerful witches that once caused havoc according to the witch hunter were burned and killed in the dark woods that surround the village. The scriptures then use these witches as lessons of what happens if you go against the Prophets and turn to magic. The woods are out of bounds and horrifying tales keep everyone away from them and on there best behaviour. Women and children that are accused of using dark magic are taken and "questioned" by the prophets, sometimes not reappearing again for a long time.

Immanuelle lives on a farm at the edge of the woods with her grandmother, grandfather, his second wife and their children. Immanuelle's mother Miriam was chosen at sixteen to marry a prophet but she had already fallen in love with Daniel a local boy. Being found out he was burned at the stake and she fled into the woods distraught and out for revenge, she appeared from the woods nine months later in labour at her parents farm and then died shortly after Immanuelle was born. Although she takes her grandfathers name Immanuelle bears the shame of being a child out of wedlock and a child that holds the suspicion of dark powers within her. She spends her childhood following the rules and obeying the scriptures but there is a magic tied to her that she does not know about and the whole village depends on her harnessing those powers and a chance encounter in the Dark wood brings her face to face with the witches in the wood and her mothers journal.

From the forbidden journal Immanuelle learns that there will be four plagues set loose onto the village. Blood, Blight, Darkness and Slaughter.

Its up to Immanuelle to find out how to stop these from happening to those she loves and in the process bring down the dictating and hypocritical fellowship that controls how life is to be lived. Immanuelle learns about her family history and the magic that runs through her veins from her fathers side and sets out to find his family on the other side of Bethels forbidden borders to help guide her how to tap into her magic.

As well as an amazing story every chapter starts with a verse, either from the holy scriptures or from Miriam and Daniel them selves.

"Sometimes I wonder if my secrets are better swallowed than spoken. Perhaps my truths have done enough harm. Perhaps I should take my memories to the grave and let the dead judge my sins."

Why I Loved It

This was such a deliciously dark and dramatic tale of magic, power and magical feminism. I loved the main character Immanuelle and was totally wrapped up in all the historical paganism that ran through out the village.

I adore historical stories and especially ones that are wrapped up in an horrific enchanting witchcraft tale. Sinister and creepy this book takes you to the heart of what it is to want to truly know yourself and to protect those that you love, regardless of the cost.

I would love to read a sequel to this one even though at the end it was not exactly left open and I certainly didn't feel the need for more but It would be great to read the next stage in Immanuelle's plans and if they actually came true or just reverted back to the old ways.



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Meet the author

Alexis Henderson is a speculative fiction writer with a penchant for dark fantasy, witchcraft, and cosmic horror.

She grew up in one of America's most haunted cities, Savannah, Georgia, which instilled in her a life-long love of ghost stories.

The Year Of The Witching is Alexis debut novel.

Connect with Alexis




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I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?

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