Cover Image: Weyward

Weyward

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Different generations of women tell their stories of witchcraft. Loved the details about how the natural world is connected to these women. Didn't love the abuse and assaults each woman suffered.
Was this review helpful?
Three POV’s-one book. The thing with multiple POV’s (for me) is that at a certain point I become divested in one or more of the characters. Three women in three separate timelines dealing with POS men. Basically, their connection with natural world isn’t understood due to patriarchy and religion. Kate must find a way to embrace this to become strong enough to escape her abusive partner. This story might be more enjoyable to those unfamiliar with this brand of feminism fiction but I think it’s a story I’ve read before with a new cast. I’d rather the book focus more on the natural magic than “men suck and can’t use their fists and penises properly!” 😩 the writing was okay and the pacing was very clunky. My concern over the women and their well being pushed me through. 
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC
Was this review helpful?
Weyward is the affecting story of three women who all struggle not just to survive in the face of almost insurmountable difficulties, but to infuse their lives with meaning.

In the early 1600s, Altha and her mother know how to use herbs to heal others with life-threatening issues that doctors address with leeches. Sometimes they are successful, but when they are not, or when neighbors die from unexplainable circumstances, they are often labeled witches. In 1942, 16-year-old Violet is not allowed to go to school to study her beloved insects and is expected to marry a man who has violated her trust. And in 2019, Kate finally finds a way to escape her possessive, abusive husband, but the fear of discovery is always present.

How these women's lives intersect is fascinating, the alternating chapters are easy to follow, and the author has a self-assured writing style. However, the subject matter is unrelentingly bleak, which made it a difficult read for me.

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Beautifully written story about strong women over several generations and their connection to the natural world. Great character development and themes. I am looking forward to reading more from this author! Highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an electronic ARC copy in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!!!

Wow.  The connection between these 3 women, the connection to nature especially giving a mother nature vibe, and the girl power!! Yes!

This is something I think many people could relate to.  It highlights some very real struggles, including sexual assault and domestic violence, but only to show the enormous amount of strength it takes for a person to live through that and get out of the situation.   

This story follows three women over the course of five centuries.  Each chapter had a different one of these women as a main character throughout this book.  I loved that.  I loved seeing the connection between them blossom as I continued to read.  Especially how they all came to and used their powers as Weywards.  

I definitely recommend this one!

Out March 7, 2023!
Was this review helpful?
Weyward by Emilia Hart
.
Told from the viewpoint of three women in different parts of time, this is a story about the strength in nature and in women. 
.
What I liked:
-Ok I love multiple timeline books. I loved the three viewpoints and seeing how these three women were all connected. 
-The injustices in the story really got me involved straight away. I was very emotionally invested in seeing how these women helped themselves and whether that would get any justice.
-Sometimes books like this feel a little too much like “men are all awful”, but this one did a pretty good job of giving us some good guys too. Graham was my favorite.
.
4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Very enamored with this book and author right now. And this cover is gorgeous. 😍 (This book is a total cover buy!)
Was this review helpful?
The Weyward family had always been a line of cunning women who used their knowledge of herbs and remedies to minister to the suffering and heal the sick and injured. Throughout three timelines we meet Altha, on trial in the 17th century for the murder of a man by witchcraft; Violet who must contend with her distant and cruel father as WWII rages; and Kate, desperate to escape an abusive husband and forge a new life in 2019. All these women must deal with the circumstances thrust upon them evil men and find the strength that lies in each of them, as well as the power that is the Weyward legacy.

This is absolute character driven perfection and I could not put this novel down.  It brings back that childhood fascination with the stories of the witch trials and I keenly remember the horror at the realization that all those women stories were lost, only coming to us filtered through the mouths of their murderers. We see in Weyward the men exposed as they set out to destroy the power they fear and the women they can’t control. The tale of these three women was intricately woven together, the injustices they faced and the abuses they endured created poignant moments that I felt in my soul. The characters were well written, with just a touch of “otherness” and an understated power that allowed the focus to remain on their stories lending a real feeling of magical realism.  There are feminist themes found throughout this novel, so much so that I feel the tansy-colored walls of Elisabeth's room were a nod to The Yellow Wallpaper (though I could be reading too much into).  This was an empowering story of women's strength to endure and overcome, and rings with hope for an end to generational abuse and oppression. It was social and historical commentary wrapped neatly up in a wonderful and moving story.
Was this review helpful?
I liked the writing very much but I can't say I found the story engaging. The book is about a fascinating topic (at least for me): witchcraft and the female multiverse. The story unspools throughout five centuries and  three different points of view: Altha, 1619 is facing a witchcraft accusation, Violet, 1942 is trying to find out more about her mother's death circumstances while facing his monstrous father and Katy, 2019, who is escaping from a violent marriage and ends up living in an old family cottage, Weyward, where she discovers her true powers and the bond that  connects her with the rest of the women of her family. 
The structure is a little bit too formulaic for my taste. Although it is an effective way to tell a story, I think it's beginning to feel a little worn out. I'm not saying this lightly, it's just that I felt that I was reading more of the same. 
Having said that, I think that the author knows what she's doing and it's very well documented, and I would definitely read any of her upcoming books on other topics.
Was this review helpful?
Wow.  I really, really, really enjoyed this book!  Loved this book! 
The book tells the story of three generations of Weyward women.  We first meet Altha, in 1619 during the Witch Trials.  She and her mother were known for their healing remedies and natural cures.  Then we meet Violet, post WWII, who knows nothing about her families past until she starts to see little clues.  She knows that she is different from others, but not really sure why.  And finally there is Kate, modern day, who has no history of her family, but inherits a cottage from her great aunt and soon begins to notice things about herself.

This is told in 3 point of views over 3 different timeframes.  That is something I like and I like that it is clearly marked at the beginning of each chapter.  Also the cover is gorgeous.  This would definitely be a book that I would automatically pick up and check out if I saw it in the bookstore.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book!!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
“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.
Was this review helpful?
Three Weyward women dealing with their heritage and trying to survive in three different generations .
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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. ⁠
⁠
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?