Cover Image: The Age of Witches

The Age of Witches

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Orbit Books and Paola Crespo for the opportunity to read this title through Netgalley. My review is my honest opinion.
This is an interesting concept of two female antagonists in the late 1800's New York. There is strong character development, and historic references are accurate and on point.
While I liked some attributes of both characters, I did find at times some slowing of the plot lines.
Overall I think this is an interesting boo, and it has made me want to read Ms.Morgan's first novel. I think overall you will enjoy the story.

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read…

The third in an unconnected series from Louisa Morgan Age of Witches is brilliant as a standalone. Following the interconnected lives of three descendants of Bridget Bishop, a witch executed during the Salem Witch trials we see the good, the bad and the ugly of the craft. Set in the late 1800’s we are introduced to Harriet the kindhearted elder of the group who as a healer has set up shop in New York. She prefers to use the craft to help others. We also meet Frances, who grew up in poverty and was deprived of her power only learning of it when her mother passes away. Angry with her station in life she uses her power to elevate herself in society, by bewitching a young widower and finally getting the finances and respect never afforded to her before. We also meet Annis, the young stepdaughter of Frances who fights against her stepmothers controlling ways, preferring her horses to shopping and socials. Annis, not a “proper young lady” wishes to become the “unthinkable” for a young woman, a horse breeder, hoping to build an empire of her own. Frances has plans of her own, wishing to obtain the one thing that would elevate her in society, a royal title and will use her powers to ensure that it happens. Harriet who has watched over Annis through the years after her mother, another Bishop descendant passes away, steps in to ensure Frances doesn’t get away with the unthinkable.

When the opportunity to arrange a marriage with a young Lord in England in financial straits arises Frances begins to bewitch those around her to meet her goal. Harriet follows them overseas knowing Annis is at risk and is still unaware of her powers. When the young Lord James finally meets Annis, he finds it difficult to accept Annis’s unorthodox behaviour Frances becomes desperate and her power, perverse.

Although slow to get into it is a well-written, engaging tale that once you are into it is well worth the read. Louisa Morgan does an excellent job and creating brilliant multifaceted characters each with their own strengths and weaknesses, showing kindness and compassion in the name of family which is the one thing I found prevalent in this book. All in all a brilliant book I would definitely recommend.

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I discovered Louisa Morgan several years ago when I read "A Secret History of Witches." Morgan does not disappoint in this novel about two distantly related women, descendants of Bridget Bishop, Harriet, who uses her magical powers to help people in need, finds herself locked in a battle with her cousin, Frances, who manipulates people with her use of black magic. Stuck in the middle is Frances stepdaughter, Annis, who has yet to discover her powers. Will Frances succeed in getting what she wants from Annis or will Annis choose love over power?
It's a great read! Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for the ARC.

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I love Louisa Morgan's book and I had high expectations that were met.
It's an engrossing and entertaining read that mixes historical fiction with fantasy making this book a very enjoyable one.
The cast of characters is well developed and I found their voices interesting and I loved them.
Ms Morgan is a good storyteller and the plot flows keeping you hooked till the end.
An excellent reading experience, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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I read at least half of this book and could not get into it. It was very detailed and I hate to say it but I was bored and do not wish to further continue with this title. I feel that it would not leave a good review or that I would be able to leave even one constructively. I am sorry.

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This was a very character driven book that I quite enjoyed. I had not read anything by this author before, but I love a good yarn about witches. This book seemed well-researched, and the writing was beautiful. If you prefer plot-based books, then this might not be the book for you. I loved the intricacy of the multiple story lines. Very well done.

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I appreciate a good flashback and we start off the story with a bang (and a flashback).

The story is one we've seen before: A young woman of a decent/good upbringing is being all but forced to find a husband because its the late 1890s and Victorian sensibilities are y'know...everywhere. But this is so much more than that because we have kickbutt witches.

I thought the characters were fully realized. Annis didn't seem like a bunch of tropes stuffed into one character. I felt Harriet's pain, especially in the last few chapters as she reflects on her late fiancee. And as much as I disliked Frances, I never truly hated her and wanted her to be "defeated/destroyed".

I think it was a little odd that the climax and resolution kinda came about 65% in the book and the rest felt like a really long epilogue. I would have preferred a shorter novel with a concise epilogue rather than this long ending exposition but oh well, it wasn't terrible or anything.

I really enjoyed this. I read it in about two days and has really put me in the mood for more historical fantasy.


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I posted an edited version of this review on my GoodReads account!

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3.5 stars

It’s a bit shallow and contrived but fun to read and sets off pretty quickly. Where it’s predictable, it’s still fun, and there is room for an expansion of this universe that hopefully covers different women in the Bishop family? I really loved also that Annis was so spunky.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest, voluntary review.

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Having descended from Bridget Byshop who was hanged in 1692 for being a witch, Harriet Bishop is still being very careful about making public in 1890 her abilities beyond her healing herbal concoctions. She is one of two sisters from Bridget's line. The sisters, however, differ in the use of their powers.

Frances's goal is to be accepted into the Four Hundred--the entitled old money rich of New York City. She would do that by forcing her seventeen-year-old step-daughter to marry into the nobility of England and arranges a trip with Annis to find a suitable prize. Annis Allington has her own ideas, however. She adores her thoroughbred stallion, Black Satin (Bits), and her goal is to create a fine bloodline of thoroughbreds. Annis wants no part of marriage.

The narrative conjures visions of magic spells, amulets, cantrips, and herbal concoctions. The incantations are poetic.

While Annis would be considered the main character, there are four POV's: Annis, Harriet, Frances, and later James. The author has done an admiral job of the verbiage and dialogue, invoking so much knowledge to herbal ingredients and remedies that it doesn't seem possible you could write with that much confidence and not be intimately involved in the practice.

Harriet realizes she must intervene in Frances' plan. It's a malicious scheme and Frances will pay a heavy price for her dark plot. The storyline wrestles with the theme of good vs evil. Is there any magic that can fix this

I had a similar quibble with this as I had with A Secret History of Witches. This time, I stumbled over the relationship of Annis to Harriet and Frances. Still, I enjoyed that first book so much I couldn't wait to tear into this ARC.

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The author writes with engaging authority, slipping the prose easily between tidbits of ancient technology and entertaining but subtle differences between American and British society. Totally recommended. 4.5/5 rounded up

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In short, this novel is a gem. I will of course talk about why it is so in a moment, but The Age of Witches has all of the elements I expected and more; combined with Louisa Morgan’s writing style, this is the perfect novel to spend a day or weekend with.

The novel starts with a flashback to 1692, and Louisa Morgan puts us into the mind of Bridget Bishop, who has been sentenced to hang for accusations of witchcraft. She considers her actions and the reasons why she is in her position – fearful, scorned men and the dangerous immaturity of her accusers. She also reflects on her two daughters, Mary and Christian, and how they were now her only hope to carry on her legacy of power – and we learn a little later what “power” means to each of the sisters and their descendants.

Flashing forward to 1890, we are introduced to Harriet, a descendant from Mary’s line. Her antagonist, Frances, is a cousin and a descendant from Christian. These lines symbolize good and evil, as Mary’s line inherited more herbalist and artistic power, while Christian’s descendants added a darker magic to their repertoire, including philters and manikins to control and manipulate minds and spirits.

Annis Allington is the third main character, and is the step-daughter of Frances. While we are aware of Harriet’s power and through Harriet, Annis’ potential as an heir of Mary’s, Frances’ abilities are not as significantly at the forefront – at least at the beginning of the book. Her primary focus is on climbing the social ladder, and it is not until we learn that she plans on using Annis as a pawn to get to the highest rung that we are introduced to her dark magic abilities. Harriet, thankfully, knows Frances’ power and her intentions with Annis nearly from the start, and thankfully is there to watch over the young girl.

Although Annis, her father, Frances, and Harriet live in New York, it is not until they make an ocean voyage to England that the primary action begins. Frances tries to force Annis to marry a Lord (using a four day stay at the Lord’s home and dark magic to do so), and Harriet – who happened to make the same journey to the same village – does what she can to counter all of Frances’ magic, including employing Annis’ help.

Amidst this core plot is a smattering of side characters who play equally important roles, and Annis’ love for horses – which includes wanting to be a breeder when she turns eighteen (she is seventeen at the beginning of the novel). For plot-first readers or readers who need a quickly paced story that is heavy with plot, The Age of Witches might not satisfy you. If you prefer your stories to be character driven, however, you will become a fast fan of Louisa Morgan if you are not already.

To expand on this: the plot is simple, and the pacing is slow. But Louisa Morgan manages to stay on the satisfying side of the line between satisfying and dull. I would say to have patience, but again, if you love character driven novels, thoughts about being patient won’t cross your mind.

While many topics – like women’s rights, animal rights, social standings, grief, and aristocratic expectations – are covered in this novel, they all fall under one theme: power. Each character has a struggle with power, although the women especially. Not just a power struggle with societal and male expectations, however. Our three main characters also struggle with power over their hearts, abilities, and even each other. As the battle between good and evil mounts, it becomes clear (through interpretation and through an admission by Harriet) that the dichotomy between the two are not so cut and dry.

The language and vocabulary Louisa Morgan used in her writing is artful, appropriate, and informing. There were a dozen or so words I didn’t know before reading this book, but the author’s ability to incorporate them into sentences that hinted at their definitions – in other words, it’s relatively easy to guess their meaning if you don’t have a dictionary on hand – is the sign of a writer who stays true to their own style while considering the accessibility of their readers.

Also incorporated into the plot are references to historical events and places. Alluding not just to the Witch Trials in America, but the Wars of Roses in England, and Blackwell’s Island in New York. Making these details relatively important throughout the story kept this fantasy novel grounded in reality – which, for this reader, is appreciated in stories about witches. It’s charming to think about the history of infamous geographic locations alongside the magical or supernatural possibilities, and Louisa Morgan balanced that charm perfectly.

It would be remiss not to mention the love story intertwined with all the other details. The Lord (James) to whom Frances wants to marry Annis is stuck up, rude, and expects Annis to fall in line with aristocratic obligations of women. He is shocked that Annis knows about sex and business – arguably more than he does – and that she is so forward in discussions and banter surrounding those and other topics. It’s pretty clear that they will end up together, even after Frances’ dark magic is successfully countered, and the anticipation of how Louisa Morgan was going to carry it out was tense. Was she going to be yet another author who creates a female character who casts out her convictions because of a marriage proposal? Or was she going to turn her female character into an unhappy figure because she could not make room in her steadfast heart for love? Neither, fortunately. But their engagement scene is still rife with unease. When Annis explains she will need to be in New York for part of the year to study herbs with Harriet, James tries once again to force her into obligatory and aristocratic female duties, after which she nearly declines his proposal. He sort of apologizes and admits his fault, and Annis ultimately says yes. While it is clear that he has changed for the better between first meeting him and this proposal, it is also frustrating to see him fall back into sexist tradition. Although, knowing Annis, it’s very clear she will stand up to any future infraction he makes until he no longer makes them, and for me, that is gratifying enough.

Pick up this book if you are interested in a creative take on Victorian witches, and/or if you need a consuming escape from modern day. Louisa Morgan delivers in The Age of Witches, and I look forward to reading her other books.

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I had heard such good things about Louisa Morgan’s A Secret History of Witches that I had been driving around with a paperback copy in my backseat, hoping for the day when getting stuck in a waiting room gave me the chance to start it. That day has yet to come. However, when I saw that she had a stand alone new book out, I was determined to read that because the author had such a great reputation among my reader friends.

After finishing this book, I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. The plot climaxed about halfway through and the book could have satisfactorily ended shortly afterward. But it didn’t. So I expected the remaining half of the book to be about the herbalist aunt falling into (and getting out of) trouble for one of the controversial remedies she concocted at the beginning of the book. After all the depth and detail that went into those scenes, I was certain that it was a foreshadowing of a sort. Alas, the book devolved into a series of crusades to right the wrongs that were committed while the characters were overseas, culminating in an almost perfect happily ever after ending.

The setting of the Gilded Age of New York City did not seem very well developed, aside from the descriptions of the Dakota and Blackwell’s Island. The true impact of the setting was the stepmother’s desire to become one of The Four Hundred, which set the events of the first half of the novel into motion. Perhaps I was a bit burned out on the setting, as I had read two other novels in the past year that developed the same setting so well that it seemed to be a character. The Address by Fiona Davis featured both the Dakota and Blackwell’s Island, while Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose dealt with the class structure and women’s rights movement in rich detail.

Overall, this was a decent historical fiction novel. However, it really did not live up to the hype surrounding the author nor the promises of drama and suspense made by the publisher’s blurb. Had I just blindly picked it up at a library book sale, just going on the back cover, I still would have been underwhelmed by what an easy read this novel was. Regardless of how I feel about this book, I’m still going to give A Secret History of Witches a chance sometime this year.

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As an avid reader of the witch books, I was anxious to get my hands on a pre-release copy of The Age of Witches. Louisa Morgan never disappoints. If you are looking for strong female protagonists, magic, and herbalism, then look no further. This book delivers. The cool thing about this book as that most of the tension is among the witches, not some oppressive patriarchal force. That was an appreciated deviation from the genre.

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"In Gilded Age New York, a centuries-long clash between two magical families ignites when a young witch must choose between love and loyalty, power and ambition, in this magical novel by Louisa Morgan.

In 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged as a witch. Two hundred years later, her legacy lives on in the scions of two very different lines: one dedicated to using their powers to heal and help women in need; the other, determined to grasp power for themselves by whatever means necessary.

This clash will play out in the fate of Annis, a young woman in Gilded Age New York who finds herself a pawn in the family struggle for supremacy. She'll need to claim her own power to save herself-and resist succumbing to the darkness that threatens to overcome them all."

More Gilded Age gloriousness!

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I enjoy these books in the family witch saga. It's very light, with romance, interesting characters. I just have a good time and I love stories with witches.

Thanks so much to NG and the publisher for this copy.

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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to love this book. Truly, I did but I just could not get into it. I don't know if it was the writing style that didn't peak my interest or what but I did not love it.

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.

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The Age of Witches is a beautifully written tale of witches in Gilded Age New York.  Morgan writes in a way that pulls you into the story making this an immersive experience that is almost effortless. Annis is descended from the Bishop line but knows nothing about her abilities. Harriet wants to teach her, but is estranged from Frances and Annis doesn't know who she is. Harriet becomes involved when Frances starts to use her step-daughter as a pawn. The characters are well-written and develop at a steady pace keeping you second-guessing until the end. The Age of Witches is an intriguing read for anyone who loves paranormal fantasy!

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I’m about 30% into this book and I just can’t connect with it. I really hate to make this a DNF especially since I love this author. I am going to give it a try later on and hopefully I can get into it! Thank you for the advanced copy!

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I found this book to be pretty disappointing. Frankly, it felt like a book that didn’t know what it wanted to be. Does it want to be about warring witches? Or is it a love story? What about Annis? ?s she a compelling feminist character? No. The answer to all questions is no because it fails to accomplish any of these things. This is the book that had me screaming: “LIKING HORSES AND HATING SIDESADDLES CANNOT BE YOUR ENTIRE PERSONALITY.”

As always, for my lackluster reviews, I’ve tried to keep it short, and I realize it’s a little ranty in places, but I’m chapped about this book. Basically, I loved the concept, and I really wanted to love this book (Intergenerational witch wars? YES PLEASE). But it just sorely lacked the execution it needed to be compelling. First off, there’s a major plot issue, in that the main plot appears to reach its climax at around 60%, the rest of the book is then spent cleaning up, and then tying up the romantic subplot. And finally, it just didn’t feel as if the stakes were that high. They didn’t seem to matter, and the characters seemed to lack agency outside of their writer’s will. What do I mean by that? I mean that if it’s clear characters are only behaving a certain way to serve the author, I’m gonna call bullshit. Also, there was so much exposition in the dialogue I wanted to throw my kindle. Just no. NO. That’s the exact opposite of what I want when I’m reading.

And the romantic subplot is my other complaint. And it’s not that there was one, I fully expected there to be one. It’s that it didn’t feel fleshed out and that was frustrating. The growth from disliking each other to reluctantly kind of liking each other/not being sure if it was magic to actually loving each other just needed work. I mean, if I’m gonna get into a romantic subplot, I actually need to go through the motions with the characters, not be told “oh, by the way, they’re in love now.” otherwise I sit there going… well wtf the was the point of that. OH and didn’t appreciate the attempted sexual assault as a plot device. Not cool.

Overall, I don’t know who I’d recommend this one too. I think readers of historical fantasy would be a little disappointed, and I think anyone, who like me, was like sweet witch wars, will also be a little disappointed. So, yeah…
(This review will go live on my blog on April 2, 2020)

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The Age of Witches is a magical story of family, friendship, and how our choices can affect everyone around us. Told in multiple timelines, and from multiple points of view, The Age of Witches tells the story of Annis, a young and wealthy socialite with an actual evil stepmother. When her stepmother Frances pressures Annis' father to marry her off to a wealthy, titled man in England, Annis does all she can to rebel. When Annis begins to feel as though she is losing her sense of self, it's an encounter with a mysterious older woman named Harriet that saves her life. Learning she comes from a long line of witches, Annis relies on Harriet's teachings to save herself from her stepmother's evil magic. Unfortunately, it's more than just Annis who is under Frances' spell and Annis and Harriet must risk it all to save everyone.
Beautifully written with engaging characters, Age of Witches is a story of strength, family, and bonds of love.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title. All opinions and mistakes are my own.

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Another installment in author Louisa Morgan’s family witch saga, THE AGE OF WITCHES, is an enjoyable romance that pits two sides of a long-lived family against one another. Although there’s never much doubt about whether good or evil will win out, there are more than enough atmospheric and magical details to the hold reader’s attention. I enjoyed this installment more than earlier versions because the story spent enough time on the characters and their lives. It didn’t bounce around among the various generations and I found that really rewarding. Author Morgan has a good series here and I look forward to her next book. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

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