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Weyward

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Member Reviews

Weyward is a gorgeously written novel with an equally gorgeous cover and a promising premise that, at its roots, tries to be feminist in its storytelling. Weyward follows three women through time: Altha, a young witch in the early 1600s, as she learns from her mother and makes bold decisions regarding the livelihood of a childhood friend and love interest; Violet, a young woman in the 1940s who is struggling with finding herself and wrestling with the unsettling feelings around her mother's death and her father's role in her life; and Kate, in her early 30s, caught in a violently abusive relationship with a controlling partner.

What I loved: the descriptive writing, the alternating timelines, the magical realism, and the overall idea for the story. Green witches are my favorites, so there is cottagecore aesthetics to the max here.

What didn't work for me: That every man, with the exception of Adam Bainbridge, Graham Ayres, and Henry Ayres (all with relatively minimal page time, and one who is dead for the entirety of the story), is an absolute wretch. I was so disappointed that there weren't more male characters (since it's trying to be feminist after all) that were not better people, who displayed good natures and kind hearts, and who played bigger roles within the narrative. Instead, this book makes one believe that the sole reasons for the Weyward women's woes comes from men, which not only makes it look like they're just terrible at picking men, but also just misses the mark in my opinion.

A great concept, but one that didn't meet the expectations I had for it.
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“I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us--the Weyward women--that bonded us more tightly with the natural world. We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow, or joy. The animals, the birds, the plants--they let us in, recognizing us as one of their own. That is why roots and leaves yield so easily under our fingers, to form tonics that bring comfort and healing. That is why animals welcome our embrace. Why the crows--the ones who carry the sign--watch over us and do our bidding, why their touch brings our abilities into sharpest relief.”

Content warning: rape, domestic assault, miscarriage, abortion, suicidal thoughts, animal cruelty

Weyward is three stories twined together: Kate in 2019 escaping an abusive marriage after she learns she is pregnant, bug-obsessed and naive 15 year old Violet living with her cruel father in their manor estate in 1942, and accused witch Altha on trial for murder in the 1618-ish.

I was intrigued by the summary of the novel but disappointed by the execution. Each chapter switches to a different woman; Altha’s chapters are told in an epistolary format in first person past tense, Violet’s are third person past tense (omniscient), and Kate’s are third person omniscient in present tense, unfortunately. If you were to remove this choppy format and line up each storyline start to finish, none of them would be particularly interesting. Other than chopping off the narrative at the end of each chapter, nothing propels the reader forward. The story was predictable, but the characters felt distinct from each other with unique life experiences that overlapped somewhat.

This isn’t really a story about witches at all. Mostly it’s about women getting assaulted by men/society, then grubbing around in the dirt and looking at bugs like they’re drunk on life and cannot believe what a miracle [insert creature here] is. I think there is definitely an audience for this, but I’m not it. I want the book the summary sold me, please.

Violet’s story reminded me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things;” fans of that work might enjoy Weyward as well.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the free copy! All opinions expressed are my own.
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Three Weyward women dealing with their heritage and trying to survive in three different generations .
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I was sent an arc of this for possible review/blurb and was a little dubious at first, because "witch" novels can be a hard sell for me sometimes. But the writing is gorgeous and the story very absorbing. Weyward is beautiful and captivating. I felt as though I was living inside these pages with these phenomenal characters. Completely engrossed and forgetting I had things to do in the real world.
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Pub date: 3/7/23
Genre: historical fiction, magical realism
Quick summary: Three women across 400 years, all with ties to the Weyward family and its magic, fight to live the lives they deserve.

This is my favorite read of January, hands down, and I'm hoping it gains a big audience when it's published in March! I loved all three of the Weyward women and their magic, and I devoured this book in just a day and a half. Emilia Hart's writing was beautiful in text and audio format, and she linked the three narratives so well.

If you loved HESTER and/or you love multigenerational historical fiction, this book definitely needs to be on your radar!! 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my e-ARC and Macmillan Audio/Libro.fm for my ALC in exchange for an honest review.
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I know you're not supposed to pick a book by its cover, but if you knew how often I actually did that, you’d probably be shaking your head at me. I can’t help it though, I am a very visual person and sometimes that is all it takes for me to pick a book up, like Wayward by Emila Hart, I knew I had to have it. It is so eye-catching with all the fruit and flora on the cover looking like an old-world painting, and then the crow taking the stage in the center. I love crows, ravens, grackles, and all the blackbirds.

But now the book…

Escaping an abusive relationship Kate goes to the English countryside to a cottage she inherited from her great-aunt Violet. While there she discovers a secret that goes back to 1619 when an ancestor Altha goes on trial for witchcraft.

The story spans five centuries and alternates timelines with Kate’s, Violet’s, and Altha’s POVs. I was a bit concerned that with three timelines and POVs, I would get a bit confused but the story moved effortlessly and was easy to follow, so I had worried for nothing.

I really liked how each of the three women was so well-developed and how involved I was in each of their stories. Many times I find myself really enjoying one of the timelines, for instance, I really seem to lean toward liking the “ past “ timelines better than the “ now “ ones. Emilia Hart wrote three timelines in this story that were all capable of keeping my attention, plus, the three stories were so well woven together that the ending was wrapped up neatly and perfectly.

I ended up both listening and reading Weyward. The writing is lyrical and the reading poetic and both contributed to the magical feel of the entire story. Also one of my favorite things about the book… I am a bit of a Green Witch myself and I appreciated the author's portrayal of magic. She used the powerful magic of of nature and the world that surrounds up. The real magic that gives us life, heals us and so much more. There was none of what I call Hollywood magic, pointy black hats, ugly witches with warts, or even odd spell casting.

Weyward, which as the book forward tells you, was used in the first edition of MacBeth ( MacBeth was read to me many times as a child by my father and was my first introduction to witches ), before being replaced in later versions with the word weird, is a beautifully written blend of magical realism, Historical Fiction, and Women’s Fiction and I look forward to reading what magic Hart creates in the future
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Emilia Hart's debut novel, Weyward, follows three different Weyward women: ⁠
•Altha in 1619 who is on trial for witchcraft⁠
•Violet in 1942 who is a young woman trapped by her father's will who longs to live her life  ⁠
•Modern day Kate who flees from danger to Weyward cottage, left to her by her aunt Violet. ⁠
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In the epigraph, we learn that Weyward was the name Shakespeare gave the Weird sisters in the first folio of MacBeth. All of Hart's Weyward women can commune with nature and are instinctively drawn to insects and birds who are just as instinctively drawn to them. ⁠
⁠
I really enjoyed this book and stayed up far too late reading 'just one more chapter'. 😂 I love spending time with these women (my favourite was Violet) and Cumbria's Weyward cottage seems like a lovely place to be. Oddly, this book reminded me of Kirsten Miller's The Change. On the surface, they are very different books but they both feature women working with nature and each other to fight the patriarchy and stop some really awful men. If you love books like this or historical fiction or books about witches, you should really try Weyward. I look forward to the next Emilia Hart novel - she is such a great writer. ⁠

Thank you to #netgalley and #stmartinspress for the opportunity to read this book.
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Weyward is a multi generational tale about a family of women discovering their personal strength and unique magic as they face their own individual strife at the hands of men. Told in triplicate, the three stories meander and weave and until they eventually come together in this tale of empowerment and magic. 

Present day- Kate, pregnant and running from her abusive partner, seeks refuge in the old cottage bequeathed to her by her great aunt. Here she she discovers the secret legacy of her forbears.

WWII- Violet, the rebellious daughter of a viscount feels trapped by her station in life. It will take a terrible and traumatic event to help her find her way out.

1600s- Altha stands trial for witchcraft and so begins the legacy of the Weyward women.

I adored this novel. Beautifully written, it is a combination of historical and women’s fiction with some magical realism added in. Each character’s story is equally compelling and interesting and none overshadows the others. You will love and root for each of them. Each woman’s fight is individual but also part of the same struggle against the patriarchy that appears to be eternal.

This my favorite type of witchy book. One where the magic is subtle and the women are strong. This isn’t a fantasy or horror novel, rather it is the story of shared generational trauma and of three extraordinary women linked by blood whose deep connection to each other nature saves them. This book has it all- mystery, suspense, drama and and that oh so important ingredient……magic. Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for this arc in exchange for an honest and fair review.
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Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the free book and Libro.fm and Macmillan Audio for the ALC.
If you have the opportunity to listen to the audio of this book, I highly recommend going this route. This story is told from three different, distinct narrators in different time periods, and each character gets their own narrator that brings these characters to life. I feel like the tones and performance just matched so well with each character, and I did not want to stop listening. I made it 61% in one sitting. This story is atmospheric with the perfect amount of suspense. Hart ended each chapter perfectly - I had to keep listening to know what was going to happen next. This book explores nature and interacting with the world. Complex family dynamics and some traumatic events are also here. And as you read, you have to decide what exactly is going on with Weyward women and what makes them so feared? This will be a story that I think about for a long time.
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Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the ARC.

I LOVEEEE generational stories of women, especially when it's the "new century, same story" playing out in a family. Three generations of Weyward women (2019, 1942, 1619) relate to the magic of nature, but are seen as weird and are mistreated by men. This book is a combination of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and magical realism with some mystery thrown in. It's somehow also Emilia Hart's debut?! Incredible. This storyline flows so well through the three characters and their historical POVs and how each generation is learning from and relating to the past. I was absolutely rivited and read 75% in one sitting. 

Read if you like:
- multiple timelines
- enjoyed reading Hester
- stories about the resilience of women
- witch trials / witchy vibes
- plants & bugs
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Absolutely beautiful. Three women from separate generations in the Wayward family are connected through their stories. 17th C, 20th C, 21st C. Independent and strong women whose lives are irrevocably changed by the men that fear them and seek to control them. I loved the natural science aspects woven in beautifully with the magical ones. Will definitely keep an eye out for more works by this author.
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Weyward tells the story of three women from the Weyward family. Kate is in the present day, Violet in the early 20th century, and Altha in the 1600s. All three have special abilities particularly in their relationship with insects, birds, animals. These abilities make life difficult for them, especially Altha who is accused of witchcraft. They all struggle with men who think they can control them. The story wonderfully shows how these women fight against the men and society to make their way in the world on their own terms. I thought the story was well written, entertaining, and a great read.
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This was such a poetic and beautiful story. Each word drew me in, and it felt incredibly visual and emotional. The way these three women's stories intertwined and grew together was so skillfully done. I particularly loved reading about Violet's whole story and how she was able to empower herself. I loved how Hart portrayed the struggles women face today through all the different stories. Every layer built upon itself in the most perfect way until it became a beautiful culmination of the triumph of all of these women. I would absolutely recommend this title to friends, although I would be sure to mention any trigger warnings. Truly a wonderful story.
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Weyward follows three related women in three different timelines. In 1619, Altha is being tried as a witch and a murderess; in 1942, Violet is coming of age and dealing with a controlling father trying to prevent her from turning out "like her mother; in 2019, Kate has just fled an abusive relationship. All three have Weyward blood coursing through their veins, and all three must use it in the best ways they can to save themselves.

I love love loved this book! I thought I would keep reading for Kate's story, but I ended up incredibly invested in each woman. The main characters stories were told in such a way that I never found myself confused and was able to identify each one by personality and mannerism fairly quickly, which I find impressive. The hedge witch vibes this book had were lovely, and I would read it over and over again. This is going to be a hit, I know it.

For fans of Hester, Practical Magic, and The Lost Apothecary to name a few, this will be a must read- Though I will be encouraging everyone else to read as well as it was just that good.

Thanks so much to St. Martin's Press as well as NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book ahead of its release in March 2023!
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Thank you to the publisher, Author, and NetGalley for this ARC for my honest review. 

Weyward is about generations of women who have faced suffering at the hands of men but together with the help of nature and a little bit of witchiness work to fight the abuse thrown against them.  The book focuses on 3 women spanning across the 1600s to today. 

“I am Weyward, and wild inside” 

What a great debut novel. Readers should be aware that the book does deal with very sensitive topics and has a lot of trigger warnings but the author does a great job portraying these and the responses of others. I really connected with the characters and was rooting them along to overcome what was constantly thrown at them. The women in this novel are strong, fearless, and reminded that they are not alone, that Mother Earth and the women before them give them strength.  While the patriarchy sets everything against them, their connection with nature and Mother Earth helps them fight. 

Great read!
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I was attracted to the summary and use of the Macbeth spelling of the word "weird." I hung on with this one until 25% but one of the three storylines was infuriating (plus used a trope I can't stand and never would have even picked up the book if I had known it was going to be used) and the other two were so drawn out that I was bored to death.
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What a beautiful, poignant story of three women whose lives are magically interwoven. While there were heavy subjects involved, I felt that it was written with care and hopefulness. I appreciated the different writing styles based on which woman's story was being told at the time. <i>Weyward</i> is a cozy, witchy tale about strong women and I loved it!
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Much like honey drizzled into tea, Weyward takes its time. The story unravels slowly while methodically building nuanced characters and immersive atmosphere. In my opinion the book is better for it.

Weyward follows three women and spans five centuries painting an expansive look at how the world perceives and treats each. While the characters share a common thread, a deep connection to the wilderness and its inhabitants, all three stories are unique, offering engaging characters and heartbreaking trails. Delving into themes of male driven violence against women and unwavering perseverance, Weyward will break your heart while simultaneously giving you hope. 

Fans of Circe, The Witch's Heart, and Wildwood Whispers will want to add this to their TBR's 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Maritn's Press for this ARC.
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A fast-moving book thanks to the three points-of-view narratives taking place across different times, although all interconnected. This is a solid recommendation for readers who enjoy historical and domestic fiction, particularly given that one part is set in the ever-popular WWII era. These parts, with Violet, were typically my favourite as she had the most defined sense of character of our three heroines. While all three of them have strong parallels in the events of their lives, seeing the different directions it takes with each according to time period and personal disposition was highly satisfying.
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3.5 stars. Weyward follows the lives of three women over the span of five hundred years: Altha in 1619, Violet in 1942, and Kate in 2019. They are connected by blood and by circumstance, though they feel singularly alone in their own times. Kate, running from an abusive partner, goes to the cottage previously owned by her great-aunt Violet, where she discovers family secrets dating all the way back to the witch trial of Altha. Will her newfound Weyward strength be enough to help her break free of a life that is draining her of purpose and happiness?

I enjoyed this tale, though I must caution potential readers about the tremendous amount of violence toward women in this book. It more or less powers the entire story of each woman. I think the character development was excellent and the plot moves along at a steady pace. There aren't any surprising reveals, really, but the story is carefully constructed and ends tidily. Descriptions of settings and scenes are appropriately gothic; my favorite is the unnerving bug-infested mansion!

Overall, this was an entertaining read that I would recommend. The violence may be a bit excessive for my taste, but I understand that it's sort of the point of the book and serves to strengthen the connection between the three Weyward women.

Thank you to Emilia Hart, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC!
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