An Intrigue of Witches

A Secret Society Mystery

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Book 1 of A Secret Society Mystery
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Pub Date 07 May 2024 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2024

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National Treasure meets A Discovery of Witches . . .

Introducing the Secret Society mystery series, and kick-ass red-headed heroine Sidney, a Black historian poised on the brink of discovering her true past . . . and her hidden witchy powers!

"Poignant and entertaining, this one is loaded with intrigue – a feast for anyone, like myself, who loves action, history, secrets and conspiracies. A stellar read" New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

Thirty-year-old Black woman Sidney Taylor is a talented early American history professor, working in fast-paced Washington DC, with her eyes on promotion. She's also currently persona non grata. Who knew that making an inconvenient historical discovery would see her stuck at her desk, shuffling paper?

So when she receives an anonymous and very cryptic invitation to visit historic small-town Robbinsville, North Carolina and hunt for a missing archaeological treasure - with a million-dollar pay out at stake - it's one she can't refuse. Besides, her beloved grandmother lives in Robbinsville, and it's been too long since she's paid her a visit.

Soon, Sidney's on an exciting treasure hunt, following two-hundred-year-old clues that lead her ever closer to the artefact she's searching for. But what is the artefact? And why is Sidney starting to feel like she's at the heart of a terrifying conspiracy she doesn't understand?

The answer blows Sidney's world apart, plunging her into a dark, glittering world of secret societies, ancient bloodlines, witches and magic, linked to an ages-old conspiracy that could destroy the very principles upon which America was founded.

National Treasure meets A Discovery of Witches . . .

Introducing the Secret Society mystery series, and kick-ass red-headed heroine Sidney, a Black historian poised on the brink of discovering her...

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Featured Reviews

I was really interested in this story based on the cover and title, but once I got into it I realized it was much more than your typical witchy fantasy.

It gave me Outlander vibes with the length of the story, the pacing, the depth of the history - fortunately, I love history and mythology - which this story combines both in such a way that all of the various elements are woven together for a really satisfying end.

I couldn't figure out how this would all come together because there was so much going on, but in the best possible way. I also loved learning about the Scottish mythology - it was new to me and told in a really fresh way. I don't really read scifi but this has elements of it in the story, and done in a way that I could understand the plot (even though I was googling some terms!)

I would definitely recommend this story to readers who like their fantasy mashed up with history and scifi - a really cool mix which made this story different from other books in my TBR and I'd definitely read this author's other cozy mystery series about mermaids and water witches.

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I’ve read this author's work before, so I was pretty sure the writing in this series opener would be similar to that series. I was both right and wrong. This book was well-written just like her other series, but this one contained so much more. The author combined political intrigue, magic, sci-fi, suspense, and a tiny bit of other genres to turn it all into a captivating read. Now, all of this was a little bit too much and could have been two books instead of one, but even though it was almost too much, it still was an engaging read. I’m interested in continuing the story, and I look forward to what’s next. Recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.

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Urban fantasy
Treasure hunt
Hidden artifacts
Secret society
History & museums
Magic & witches

“Thirty-year-old Black woman Sidney Taylor is a talented early American history professor, working in fast-paced Washington DC, with her eyes on promotion.”
“When she receives an anonymous and very cryptic invitation to visit historic small-town Robbinsville, North Carolina and hunt for a missing archaeological treasure - with a million-dollar pay out at stake - it's one she can't refuse.”

An Intrigue of Witches is the first book in the Secret Society Mystery series.

The book had a interesting mix of history and future, from American & Egyptian history to super modern virtual reality in the future. The plot and storyline reminded me of The Da Vinci Code mixed with Discovery of Witches.

The pacing of the book was okay, not too fast but there weren’t any dull moments either.

The storyline was a bit difficult to follow at times because there were so many things happening and new secrets being revealed, but the ending wrapped everything up nicely.

The characters were a bit shallow. I would have loved to learn more about them, especially the main character. She is a smart and interesting character with a lot of potential.

The storyline was really interesting but at times a bit too much for a book this short. Maybe some of it could have been left for the other books of the series.

Overall I enjoyed reading the book. A bit different than what I usually read.

This book is a good fit for anyone wanting to read an adventurous book with treasure hunting mixed with history.

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An Intrigue of Witches by Esme Addison is a genre-blending masterpiece of Cozy Science Mystery and I am all over it. Now, I struggled with the first chapter, not in essence of the beautiful descriptions and scene setting, it just seemed a little detached, as if Sidney was talking about herself in the third person, more focussed on describing Sidneys looks and popularity than the removal from the office. However, this is just my personal taste and it was the only blip in the entire book for me

Esme Addison is a stunning author and she is breaking new ground in the cozy mystery genre. A lot of Cozy/ Science crossovers are usually gaslamp/ steampunk, but an Intrigue of witches is in a class of its own

Sidney has found an intriguing artefact, yet after declaring it to her museum, she is made to sign a on-disclosure agreement and thrown out with immediate effct on "paid annual leave". Suitably miffed, Sidney pootles off to stay with her (may I say absolutely blinding charcter) grandmother while she tries to figure out what on earth is going on

Through Sidneys investigation, the book shifts gear and I was absolutely gripped! The cozy mystery suddenly revs up and hares off into a thriller, full of conspiracy, secrets, history and secret soceities, all centred on this intriguing artefact

A fantastic read to get your teeth into! I was all prepared for a snug sit down and I was on the edge of my seat! I have not read any of Esme Addisons books previosly, but this series has got huge potential and I am here for it!

Thank you to Netgalley, Severn House and Esme Addison for this awesome ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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This is a book for fans of the National Treasure movies meets Dan Brown.

Sidney is an up and coming historian for the Smithsonian. She's a media sweetheart helping make history cool again to the masses when she's unexpected let go from the museum. Rather than dit and wallow in her pity, she returns home to Robbinsville, NC to stay with her grandma. From there she discovers a secret history of her town and embarks on a historical treasure hunt based around Black Colonial history.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the history element along with the treasure hunt. There were some twists I didnt see coming along with some science fiction elements. Overall a good time and entertaining.

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Sidney Taylor, after being placed on furlough, goes back to her small hometown in North Carolina after receiving a letter asking her to find a secret artifact. She goes on a National Treasure-esque pursuit to search out the hidden artifact, falling into a secret society of witches and racing to stop a Virtual Reality takeover. This book was really fun and entertaining and I flew through it. The writing was captivating and kept me hooked. Sidney was charming and relatable and I enjoyed her inner thoughts and seeing her interact with the side characters around her. The secret society of witches was incredibly enchanting and I was truly immersed in the world. A few things I did not enjoy though were the pacing at the beginning, not learning enough background about the main character, and the way that the book tells the reader instead of showing them certain things that are happening. The very first chapter starts with the main character being placed on furlough and getting the letter that invites her back to her hometown. I would have liked to see a little more background leading up to the furlough, in particular, her relationship with Dr. Philippi so that the main character’s motivations and relationship with with her boss made more sense. This also leads into not getting to know the main character enough at the beginning and the telling of things that have happened rather than showing them. I feel that if there had been maybe just one chapter preceding the first chapter to show the reader what Sidney’s life was like before she was placed on furlough, it really would have helped to give a good representation of what being placed on the furlough meant for her. Overall though I really did enjoy this book and I would gladly read the next book once it comes out as I was truly delighted by the main character and loved the atmosphere of the secret society. 3.75 rounded up.

Thank you to Severn House and NetGalley for providing access to this ARC. All opinions are my own.

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—Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the chance to review an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a great start to a new series.
I loved the mystery action plot line because it was really cozy and fun. I love when characters go out to find artifacts in different media forms.
I wanted a lil more character development though. But considering that it was the first book, i’m sure we’ll get them in the next book.

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The gorgeous cover and clever title attracted me to this book immediately. It's a curious mixture of fantasy, history, and political conspiracy combined into a treasure hunt for an unknown artifact. Just when I'd think I understood a piece of the puzzle, the pieces would shuffle once more. I'm familiar with the ancient history connected to the story as well as the Scottish witch hunts conducted by James I but the virtual reality component lost me. I almost gave up but I'm glad I decided to keep going. All of the pieces really do come together and I enjoyed the empowering connections between the female characters. My personal inability to understand the virtual reality and quantum physics components didn't matter in the long run. The early American history thread of the story actually dovetailed with my own family history as it probably will with other readers with Scottish ancestry. Although the plot was neatly wrapped up in the end, I hope that there will be another book to pick up where this one ended.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the digital ARC. All opinions and the review are entirely my own.

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This was such an interesting mix of genres - Fantasy, historical fiction, some sci-fi elements thrown in, a dystopian twist, a dash of cosy mysteries - honestly I really loved it! And it’s so rare that we find such a genuinely unique plot line and world. There was a lot I loved here and just a handful of things I think could be improved on - it didn’t quite hit the mark for a 5 star read but I could definitely need future books in the series getting there.

I loved how empowering so many of the female characters and their relationships were - there were so many strong female characters here and I feel like the book THRIVED because of them. I also loved the intergenerational interactions!

I do think this book could have been a little longer as there is a lot here and I would have really enjoyed more time to absorb everything and some quieter lulls in the pacing. Everything feels fairly fast paced and there’s a lot of developments here, I think a handful of smaller, quieter scenes might have lent itself to further character developments and relationship depths. But maybe more of that will come in future books?

I know other reviewers have also mentioned this, but I wish we were shown things more than we we told about them. There are so many little facts we are told about and if we had only been shown them they would have hit so much harder - it feels like a little thing to complain about but it’s things like this which really level up the writing.

Things are absolutely left open for more books but I loved that the plot was neatly tied together - no cheap cliffhangers here! You could easily read and love this without needing to read further books (although I will definitely be reading any further installments that might come out!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an E-ARC

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Thank you NetGalley, Severn house Publishers and the author for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book to be released in May 2024 in exchange for an honest review.

An Intrigue of Witches - A Secret Society Mystery # 1
by Esme Addison

What would you do if everything you knew about American history and their leaders was planned by a secret society formed centuries ago in Europe?

Fans of The DaVinci Code, and National Treasure meets Outlander, and A Discovery of Witches will love this new urban fantasy filled with magic, ancient bloodlines, cryptic messages, puzzles, hidden rooms and a treasure hunt that leads to the most coveted relic in the world.

Thirty year old Sidney Taylor embarks on an unexpected mysterious treasure hunt that has been hidden in her hometown for centuries. Guarded by a secret society to keep hidden from the evil that wishes to rule the world, she must locate the relic before they do which is not an easy task. Even for this well educated historian, she too must piece the puzzles together to find it.

The closer she gets to the truth, Sidney, her family, and the people sworn to protect the artifact and bloodline are in more danger. They are all closely watched, and there isn’t anything they won’t do to obtain what they seek, including murder.

I’m a big fan of mysterious Indiana Jones/National Treasure type stories, and an even bigger fan of stories with witches and ancient magic. I found this book very interesting and loved the inclusion of history and weaving in the past to write an adventure with focus on well regarded black figures through time.

Her families ties to fated restoration of power back to a fated family who plans to only bring protection to the world was weaved well. It seems this character and her powerful friends and family have much more work to do. I look forward to reading about it.

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Thanks to NetGalley and for the advance reader's copy of this book.

An Intrigue of Witches is a fun, fast paced novel of history, myth, magic and imagination. Sydney Taylor is a talented historian searching for a mysterious artifact. As she uncovers clues, and questions historical beliefs, Sydney must decide who can be trusted. She must also determine what is possible in this new understanding of the history of her family, and the impact on the future of the world.

I look forward to Sydney's next adventure!

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I absolutely loved this book! As many others have said it has a real Davinci Code feel about it. The touch of magic and the paranormal was just perfect.

The main character, Sidney, is well respected historian who finds herself back in her home town having to solve a mystery that at times threatens her life. I found Sidney to be a likeable character - she is intelligent and driven. As the book progresses you learn much about her family history which really helps to understand her.

The book is fast paced - I often didn't want to put it down as the chapters ended with cliff hanger after cliff hanger. The references to current political situations made the story feel modern. I did struggle a little with following some of the AI elements of the book but this didn't distract from my enjoyment of it at all.

I can see that this book is the first in a new series and I will definitely pick up the next book.

Thank you to Netgalley for an eARC of this book.

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An Intrigue of Witches takes us through the story of Sidney - placed on furlough as a popular historian, she returns to her hometown to follow a mysterious request to uncover an ancient artefact. As Sidney follows the clues, she learns more about the town, her family, and magic.
I particularly enjoyed the Scottish links in this book. The VR/quantum physics baddies were a little jarring for me, personally. The characters were rich and well written.

If you're looking for a historical magic fantasy sci fi mashup, this is the book for you.

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I was drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover, the title and the story description. I was intrigued by the beginning of Sidney’s story and eager to learn why she was ousted from the Smithsonian, what artifact she was searching for and how her relationships with the other characters in the book would develop. I did find the initial part of the book to be rather slow moving but wanted to continue reading to learn more. I really enjoyed the codes, clues and puzzles Sidney followed along the way and the ongoing mysteries of the hidden artifact, the secret society, and various relationships Sidney developed through the storyline.

Sidney’s grandmother was a charming character and I would have loved to read even more of her. I found Sidney’s mother to be a very one dimensional, somewhat fake character and felt she could have been much more developed. More information on Gabe would also have been appreciated. When the idea of the conspiracy to use AI and VR to take over the country and control the populace was revealed, I was disappointed. I think the storyline of the warring dynasties was a sufficient conflict and felt the VR storyline to be over the top and too much into the sci-fi realm. The witchy ‘powers’ of the women and the time travel aspects were great and enough.

That being said, overall I quite enjoyed the book and would like to discover what happens next and how Sidney moves forward.

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for the ARC of this book. The review is my honest opinion.

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This was described as National Treasure meets Discovery of Witches. DoW is my favorite book so I was “intrigued.” I really enjoyed the National Treasure/Da Vinci Code aspects of the book. It had more of a Da Vinci Code feel to it than DoW, even with the supernatural/witch aspects. A definite read if you like escape rooms, mystery, and treasure hunts.

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Mystery, history, and a delightful adventure! This book is like National Treasure meets A Discovery of Witches in the best way. It was so enjoyable, with a complex, intriguing plot with the right number of twists. It’s a treasure hunt mixed with historical discovery mixed with the mystical.
Some of the themes were a bit far fetched, but the author pulled it off and tied everything together. The depth of the myths and history used helped ground the book. I couldn’t stop reading and the end left me feeling inspired and satisfied.

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This was a great introducing to this world, it had everything that I was hoping for. I loved the idea of "National Treasure meets A Discovery of Witches" and glad it worked with the story inside. The characters were everything that I was looking for and enjoyed the overall feel of this book. I enjoyed the mystery of this book and thought it had everything that I wanted in this world. Esme Addison has a great writing style and left me wanting to read more in this series.

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Definitely 4.5 stars

“An Intrigue of Witches” by Esme Addison the first instalment in A Secret Society Mystery. What a great start to a new paranormal adventure mystery series. Introducing the Secret Society mystery series, and kick-ass red-headed heroine Sidney, a Black historian poised on the brink of discovering her true past . . . and her hidden witchy powers!

I loved Esme Addisons other series An Enchanted Bay Mystery series and am saddened it’s not continuing. Which in turn made me excited to read Intrigue of Witches , at first I was iffy until I hit the 25% mark in the book. It seemed to political, and conspiracy theories that float around today, but I really got into it in the end. I loved learning about early American history etc.
It felt like Dan Browns Di Vinci code type of adventure thriller full of conspiracy, intrigue, history, lost treasure, magic and did I mention time travel. I tried to stay awake to finish but kept falling asleep then I would wake up read another few chapters fall asleep but at 4am I made a cup of tea and had to see how it ended.

The mystery is interesting and well plotted, and I loved the characters. I’m sure we will learn more about the characters in further books and I look forward to Sidney’s next adventure. I can see these books as a movie too!

I highly recommend this series to all my mystery loving friends. I am looking forward to book two.

I requested and received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Severn House and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my OWN.

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As a not historical reader, this book was amazing! I fell in love with the hunt for the artifact and it kept me wanting to turn each page. There were a couple times throughout the book where it was very historical/science heavy. The sections weren’t my cup of tea, but I understand the importance of them for the story. The ending was something I did not see coming.

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I enjoyed this book it has found family, political intrigue,sprinkles of magic and mystery/treasure hunting plot it was a fun and engaging read

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I loved the colonial history mixed with magic and Witchery!
I identified with the heroine Sidney I not only love history but I teach it.
I loved tagging along as Sidney tracked down clues, deciphered codes and found out more about her heritage.
I did get lost when the dialogue turned to physics but I just focused on the historical aspects.
My favorite character was Fiona because she was a spirited older woman who took everything in stride.
This book was like a cross between National Treasure and Witches of Eastwick.
The VR stuff was nerve wracking because of the insidious control behind it.
I hope there’s another book in the series because I need to know if the villains are stopped. Plus I want to see Gabe the babe and see if anything more develops between he and the historian!

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Well written and enjoyable read!

-secret societies
-powerful fmc
-coming into powers story
-mystery 👀

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