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The Age of Witches

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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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I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. It was more historical and romance, and I was expecting more science fiction. The writing was very well done and I enjoyed the overall plot. A nice read overall.

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This tale is a beautifully written story about witches living in New York during the Gilded Age. Descendants of the infamous Bridget Bishop, who was hanged as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials, Harriet and Frances use their magic in unique ways. Harriet uses her magic for good - to be a healer, helping others and being cautious. Francis uses her magic for herself - to give herself all the things she thinks she deserves or that will make her happy. Francis's step-daughter Annis is also a descendant Bridget Bishop, but does not know anything about witches or magic. Harriet would love to teach Annis all about the incredible gift she has, but being estranged from Francis prevents Harriet from getting close to Annis. When Francis beings using Annis as a pawn to get even more notoriety in New York society, Harriet becomes involved in an attempt to protect and guide Annis.

This tale isn't for everyone. It can be slow and drawn out at time, but the way the narrative draws the reader in makes this a wonderfully immersive story to read.

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I had high hopes for this book given the blurb but it did not live up to my expectation.
The book felt more like a coming of age / romance than a book about witches.

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The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan: I enjoyed The Age of Witches, it was a solid three star read for me personally. I believe there will be eager readers for this type of story.

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I love anything witches. So when I saw this book, I knew I needed to read it. It's books like this that got me into reading to begin with.

This is a beautifully written, emersive tale of the Witches of the Bishop line. The narrative chages based on each of these caracters. It's done in a way that is easy to follow and should not be too confusing for most readers.

I did find the pacing slow at times and a lot of the time you kind of knew what was coming. There weren't a lot of times where I was surprised by anything, which I would have liked more of.

I loved the historical aspects and the time period but the romance left something to be desired.

I was hoping to love this a little more but I still enjoyed it as I look back to the books that originally made me fall in love with reading.

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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for the arc!

real rating: 3.5/5

First of all, I just want to say that this was a good read. If you have any kind of interest in witches and witchcraft than you may find yourself really enjoying this one. While this is a fantasy novel it isn't high fantasy by any means, and definitely errs on the side of historical fiction.

The world building was beautiful and the characters were well defined.

My main critique is that it was slow moving. I found myself having read a decent chunk of the novel and it still felt as though nothing significant had happened.

Conclusion: enjoyable and very witchy <3

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Raise your hand if you love a good magic book! Me, I do! I love all stories about witches and magic especially when the magic is more feeling and emotion than just wand waving.
Morgan has crafted a beautiful narrative about witches in the Gilded Age of New York. The depth of characters combined with the significant world building is fabulous.
While the story follows the view point of three separate Bishop witches, I found myself drawn to Annis. Annis, is a rebelliously independent 18 year old women. She has wanted for nothing and could very well be a socialite, however she prefers the company of her horses and dreads a future of being a wife. She is ambitious and before her time. She fights for what she wants, which since she is from a wealthy family works for her. With a kind heart and a thirst for learning she greatly appealed to my.
When her step-mother, Frances, the second Bishop witch aims for Annis to marry a title in London, Annis must overcome the magic Frances will use to get her way. Our third Bishop witch, is Annis' estranged aunt Harriet. Harriet knows how far Frances will go to get her way, and she is determined to bring Annis under her wing to keep her safe.
Honestly, it does not take much except a solid plot line and a flushed out magic system for me to enjoy a 'magic' story. A heavy romance plot can seriously hinder my judgement though, as I prefer them to be side stories and not consume the entirety of the plot line. While marrying Annis off is the reason Frances becomes the villain, it's not the only reason. Morgan does a great job of giving Frances depth to make every action she takes wholly realistic. Regardless, the romance aspect is a side plot. It does not feel forced or fake. There were no 'love at first sight' reactions, which I can appreciate. Makes for a much more believable and enjoyable story line.
On the topic of magic systems though, I really enjoyed how 'Magic' was more about inner emotions and raw energies from the earth. Instead of being you typical cauldron brewing women, the Bishop witches are more in line with what a pharmacist does today. The magic is build around the use of herbalism rather than a force of power. They tend to offer remedies, often made only from local herbs than curses or spells. It's an interesting take on how magic functions, but it really works within this narrative.
Overall, I loved the book. I loved Morgan's writing style and I could honestly go with reading a couple more within this universe. Which I will actually probably pick up her first book about witches, A Secret History of Witches this summer. My only compliant about this book, is that the ending felt a little drawn out. There was one point I thought the story was going to end, and it just kept going. Granted, once I read what else was to come, it tied together nicely but maybe splitting it into two separate books would have been ideal.

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I really wanted to like this book because I loved the concept was great. I love stories about powerful women and witches. This was just very slow to me and it was hard to keep my interest going. I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters and I really didn't care what happened to them.

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The book starts off in Salem, following a witch about to be put to death. Immediately, you can feel the anger she carries in her heart and Louisa Morgan did a splendid job of conveying that to the reader. Throughout the whole book, Louisa Morgan was able to accomplish deep, visceral emotions that made you empathize with the characters, and I think her success came from the way in which she structured her chapters. Each chapter was written from the viewpoint of a different character, with their own voice, personality, and emotions. The ability to successfully create these chapters that told viewpoints of different people filled the story perfectly.

I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read (in the sense that it flowed well and was enjoyable). The plot moved along at a nice pace and honestly turned out different than what I had expected, in the best of ways. I really loved how the history of the witches was weaved into the story, Latin words were used, and herbs were the basis of their witch skills.

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Bridget Bishop was hanged for her witchcraft in 1692. Two hundred years later, the two lines of her family retain her powers, but use it for different purposes- one uses it to help and heal people, the other uses it to pursue power. That conflict will come to a head over the fate of Annis, the youngest member of the family. Annis’s privileged life in Gilded Age New York is set to change, for her step-mother, Frances is set on gaining a noble title for the family. She takes Annis across the ocean to England, where she hopes to match Annis with a nobleman. When sparks don’t immediately fly, Frances resorts to more drastic measures, though she is countered by another woman of the Bishop line. But neither of them count upon Annis coming into her power, and the modern young woman is determined to be the master of her own destiny.

“Harriet understood and honored the magnitude of her responsibility. Sometimes, as she whispered this cantrip or one of the others, she felt the presence of her predecessors, those wise women who had come before her. Often she felt Grandmother Beryl at her shoulder. Once she had sensed the shade of Bridget Bishop herself, and that one had unnerved her, a ghost still burning with resentment over her fate.”

Though its premise is straightforward- a clash between two lines of a powerful family- The Age of Witches is a book that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a story about a young woman who is ahead of her time, who comes into her family’s ancestral power? Is it about a two-hundred-year-old feud between the good and evil sides of a family? Is it a romance? Is it a story of feminist power?

Because it wants to be all of these things, it fails at all of them becoming instead a predictable and surface-level story that is mildly entertaining at best, and stiflingly predictable at worst. Though it is set in New York City’s Gilded Age, the sumptuous environment of high society is largely glossed over or forgotten altogether, turning the story’s backdrop into a non-entity, like a faded photograph in which all the details have been lost.

The characters, too, are flat and defined by a single characteristic: Annis is a horse-crazy young woman whose rallying cry is ‘women should use regular saddles!’, while Frances has a singular goal and seemingly nothing else in her life, and Harriet is obsessed with a single event from her past. And while Harriet may abhor Frances’s methods, she is not above using them for what she might term, ‘the greater good’.

That leads to the moral dilemma of The Age of Witches. With salves, potions, and cantrips, the witches of the world can influence peoples’ minds. While the ‘bad’ witches use this power for nefarious ends, the ‘good’ witches use them for the good. Or so they say. In one instance, one of the witches influences another’s mind to get money. She might say it’s meant to help another, but she used her power to affect another’s mind.

And there’s the rub. If the ‘good’ witches use their power to help others, how can they claim to be helping when they’re affecting others’ minds for their own benefit? Did the influenced person have money to spare? Yes. But did that make it right for the witch to influence their mind? To reach into the seat of that person’s soul to make them change their plans, all for the sake of the witch’s convenience and comfort? I wonder.

And this, really, is the greatest question that The Age of Witches brings up, though it’s likely not the one the author intended to ask. Though Louisa Morgan spends an entire book playing up one witch as inherently good and the other as inherently bad, their ultimate actions are not that different. So when all the witches, good or bad, are willing to use their magic to influence other people’s minds, what really separates them?

It’s an important question for a book like this to ask, and unfortunately, it’s not one that The Age of Witches addresses. Instead, it tells a surface-level story about three scions of a magical family who could change the world, but whose greatest ambition is to do well in the standard wedding plot.

Thank you to NetGalley and Redhook Books for providing me a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.

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I was provided with an arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My x meets x pitch for this is Downton Abbey meets Macbeth. It's got all the class, money, and elite socialites mixed in with three witches each with their own agendas.

This book was very well written. All the characters were very well developed, even the "villain". Everyone had clear motives and were given the right amount of page time. This book was a success technically. My favourite character was Annis by far, being the wise beyond her years and modern for her time character that she was, but I also love how that came out not in a needlessly rebellious way but with actual interest that served to forwards the plot. Also, I very much appreciate her horse-crazed nature, as it was something I went through and, had my mom not been allergic to barn dust, I might be a lot like her.

On the subject of witches, I liked how it was handled. Having taken a class on witches and witchcraft in literature, I appreciated how witchcraft was seen as something powerful and manipulative, but also empowering and useful. It was something that didn't just pit woman against woman but also brought them together.

In the end, this book was incredibly well done and impressed me. It was just lacking that special, person-dependent spark to make it an all-time favourite. I would highly recommend this to historical fictoio0n fans or light fantasy fans. Definitely both.

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I received a copy though NetGalley for review.
DNF at 50%

Initially I was excited about reading about witches in this historical setting.
Centered on a line of witches, Three generations descended from the same line, but with drastically different forms of magic.
One herbal based and the other based on poppets and control the wants and desires of others to achieve a goal- for a price.
Annis a great-grand niece of Harriet Bishop.
And Frances, a distant cousin of Harriet, and Stepmother to Annis.

I made it though half of it, the plot is completely predictable and frankly trite to read.
I wanted to enjoy this, but the character development, and use of the 3 way magic against one another just isn't working for me.

Francis tries to control Annis to force her to marry a lord, Annis works with Harriet to prevent Francis's spells from controlling her. Annis and her love interest James are both under the influence of Francis's spells- but clearly share a connection without it, if he weren't so priggish, and she we're hell bent on flouting societies expectations. But they're both into horses.
I already know where this is headed and unfortunately I'm not interesting is continuing to read this journey. I'm sure Frances will end up exposed, and Annis and her Lord will be happy, and she'll come into her own power.

I just can't continue with this. I haven't read anything else by this author, so I can't speak to her other works. This just feels too simplistic for me.

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Book Info
Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Redhook
ISBN 0316419516 (ISBN13: 9780316419512)
Other Editions (6)
Source:Netgalley EARC
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Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches, returns with another riveting tale of family, witchcraft, and love that spans generations, set in Gilded Age New York and London.

Harriet Bishop, descended from a long line of witches, uses magic to help women in need -- not only ordinary women, but also those with powers of their own. She must intervene when a distant cousin wields dangerous magic to change the lives of two unsuspecting young people... one of whom might just be a witch herself.

Frances Allington has used her wiles and witchcraft to claw her way out of poverty and into a spectacular marriage with one of New York's wealthiest new tycoons. She is determined to secure the Allingtons' position amongst the city's elite Four Hundred families by any means necessary -- including a scheme to make a glorious aristocratic match for her headstrong and reluctant step-daughter, Annis, using the same strange power with which she ensnared Annis's father.
To save Annis from this dark magic, Harriet reveals to her Frances' misuse of their shared birthright and kindles in Annis her own nascent powers. Together, Harriet and Annis must resist her stepmother's agenda, lest she -- and the dashing young lord she suspects she could come to love -- lose their freedom, and possibly their lives.
My Thoughts
The good, the bad and the ugly side of power is explored within the pages of this story.

One families struggle within that reaches through time and space, affecting not only it’s members but those friends and the enemies they come in contact with as well.

A tale of the Byshop/Bishop witches that spans lineage stretching back a full century to first woman who bestowed her talents, one Bridget Byshop, one side practicing the light and one side practicing the darker magics of witchcraft.

In this particular story we actually follow along with Frances (Bishop) Allington, her older cousin Harriet Bishop and young Annis Allington as their paths intersect and lives take different paths.

Frances grew up in poverty and want while Harriet by contrast grew up in a loving home wanting for nothing, which of course leads to conflict between the that is mostly of Frances’s making.

The truth of their struggle also unfortunately involves stepdaughter Annis Allington and the young impoverished English lord that her stepmother decides is the families ticket to societies full acceptance.

However as good versus evil has in every book I have read what actually happens is quite different than what was wanted, by both sides.

A story of family secrets and inherited family magical powers that spans generations and is rife with love lost as well as gained.

[EArc from Netgalley]

On every book read as soon as it is done and written up for review it is posted on Goodreads and Netgalley, once released then posted on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles as well

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I liked this book, but I only liked it. On paper I should love this book. It's got witches, Gilded Age NYC, American nouveau riche going to England to marry impoverished nobility, all things I love. I think the pacing was just a little too slow for me. It just didn't sweep me away as I really wanted it to, and I ended up finding it a bit of a chore to read. It raises an interesting question about women seeking equality when they have superhuman qualities, but I'm not sure it comes to a very interesting conclusion there.

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In 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged as a witch. Two hundred years later her legacy lives on, with her abilities passed down generation to generation. One of her daughters and her children and grandchildren practiced as Bridget did, mainly as herbalists. The other daughter chose the other path, the darker path. This struggle for power, for light and darkness will determine the fate of Annis, a young woman in the Gilded Age in New York. Frances is determined to marry Annis off to someone with a title so she can gain entrance to The 400 of New York and she will stop at nothing to get her way.
I devoured this book. It was so good. I got completely immersed in Annis, Frances and Harriet's story. I am really hoping there will be a sequel. I highly recommend this enchanting tale.

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DNF'd @ 25%

The Age of Witches by Louisa Morgan has so much potential and the concept is quite intriguing. Unfortunately, it ended up not being for me because it's so darn slow. As of a quarter of the way through this 448 page novel, next to nothing at all happens. While the writing itself is beautiful, I simply ended up losing interest.

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Louisa Morgan's The Age of Witches continues her work with women, witches, and the world they live in. If readers go into this novel hoping for more of the moody, lightly plotted journeys that you'll find in her previous works, you will not be disappointed here. This novel focuses mainly on witches during the Gilded Age in New York City, and it is a much different setting than Morgan has dealt with in previous novels. The plot, and the women, are benefited by it.

Like Morgan's previous novels, the themes of power and magic, and how women can use them to influence the world in their favor, is at the forefront of this story. Morgan finds a way to the tell a similar story in a new way each time she brings these woman to us.

Some parts read sappy, and it is a low moving story, but if you enjoyed her previous work about witches, you'll love this.

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There are some books that make their intentions very obvious from the get go. LIKE this character. HERE is the history of our world. THIS is what you should feel. And all that does is make reading feel like a chore, like I'm being lectured or told what to do.

And then there are some books like The Age of Witches that are so beautifully crafted they make reading an immersive experience that is almost effortless. There is no denying that this is expertly written. Louisa Morgan has this phenomenal ability to balance world building and character development that allow the reader to explore and determine for themselves how they feel about it all.

Set in late 1800's, rebellious 18 year old Annis is independent and "un-lady like" and wants nothing to do with marriage. She would rather devote her time to her horses. Her disapproving stepmother Frances is a nouveau riche socialite who uses hidden magic to try to force her to fall in love with a British marquis to settle her down and gain a title for the family. An estranged aunt Harriet, who is the long lost cousin of Frances, and who is also secretly a witch, takes Annis under her wing to try to thwart her evil magic.

I loved this story. It was simple and unexpected and I've never seen the execution of romance quite like this one. Especially since I didn't feel like either one of them was particularly likeable. And they certainly weren't drawn to one another of their own volition. But something about their story made me not want to stop reading. And the use of the evil stepmother trope was perfection. I loved that every character was nuanced., and I even felt bad for and could understand the villain's perspective at times. Nothing felt cartoonish or tacky or overdone. Even the magic itself was something raw from the earth, an invocation of herbalism and intent, nothing flashy or garish. It left it all feeling grounded, like this really could happen without us knowing.

My only criticism is that the structure of the narrative towards the end felt drawn out. The story kind of lingers after the climax, with one or two mini plots introduced and resolved before the end. It felt a little slow and superfluous, but it was still enjoyable.

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I love books about witches. This was a very good tale. Ploy kept my interest enough to make me want to read more books by this author. I would say the book was not spectacular but I enjoyed every bit of it.

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