Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books About Witches
Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Halloween Related Freebie: ten scary books, favorite horror novels, non-scary books to get you in the Halloween/fall mood, bookish halloween costumes, scariest covers), scary books on my TBR, etc.
I love Halloween so I really love this week’s topic! Next to Christmas, Halloween is probably my favorite holiday. I loved dressing up and trick-or-treating when I was a kid, and as an adult, I love taking my son out trick-or-treating and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters who come to our door. My birthday is also in late October and so my parties were often Halloween-themed. Just thinking about Halloween therefore brings back lots of fun memories.
For my top ten list, I decided to share 10 of my favorite books that feature witches. Some are scary, some are funny, and some are geared towards children, while others are clearly not. Some are about good witches, while others are about wicked ones. And while it goes without saying that the Harry Potter series features some of my favorite witches of all time, since I’ve featured that series in several of my recent top 10 lists, I’ve decided to share some books that I haven’t shared before. Enjoy!
Top Ten Books About Witches
1. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Goodreads Synopsis: The bestselling author of Second Nature, Illumination Night and Turtle Moon now offers her most fascinating and tantalizingly accomplished novel yet — a winning tale that amply confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation not only as a genius of the vivid scene and unforgettable character but as one of America’s most captivating storytellers.
When the beautiful and precocious sisters Sally and Gillian Owens are orphaned at a young age, they are taken to a small Massachusetts town to be raised by their eccentric aunts, who happen to dwell in the darkest, eeriest house in town. As they become more aware of their aunts’ mysterious and sometimes frightening powers — and as their own powers begin to surface — the sisters grow determined to escape their strange upbringing by blending into “normal” society.
But both find that they cannot elude their magic-filled past. And when trouble strikes — in the form of a menacing backyard ghost — the sisters must not only reunite three generations of Owens women but embrace their magic as a gift — and their key to a future of love and passion. Funny, haunting, and shamelessly romantic, Practical Magic is bewitching entertainment — Alice Hoffman at her spectacular best. (Read more…)
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2. The Witches by Roald Dahl
Goodreads Synopsis: This is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. Real witches don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you’re face to face with one? Well, if you don’t know yet you’d better find out quickly-because there’s nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she’ll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them. Ronald Dahl has done it again! Winner of the 1983 Whitbread Award, the judges’ decision was unanimous: “funny, wise, deliciously disgusting, a real book for children. From the first paragraph to the last, we felt we were in the hands of a master”. (Read more…)
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3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Goodreads Synopsis: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. (Read more…)
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4. A Discovery of Witches (from The All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
Goodreads Synopsis: A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism. (Read more…)
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5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Goodreads Synopsis: “I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history,” Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.
Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “witch-hunts” in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing, “Political opposition… is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.” (Read more…)
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6. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Goodsreads Synopsis: From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz’s first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.
The three Beauchamp women-Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid-live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret-they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.
For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it’s time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them. (Read more…)
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7. The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
Goodreads Synopsis: On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking. And the witching hour begins…
Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.
A hypnotic novel of witchcraft and the occult across four centuries, by the spellbinding, bestselling author of The Vampire Chronicles. (Read more…)
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8. Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
Goodreads Synopsis: Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family sustained by love as they try to survive the hysteria of a witch-hunt.
Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic. When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.
Sharratt interweaves well-researched historical details of the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hillis a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation. (Read more…)
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9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Goodreads Synopsis: Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives’ stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit’s friendship with the “witch” is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft! (Read more…)
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10. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Goodreads Synopsis: Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch? (Read more…)
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Question: Do you have any favorite reads about witches? Have you read any of these? What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
I love Halloween too, for many of the same reasons. There’s just something about it, and we always love handing out the candy and all that stuff. It was always really festive at my house growing up at Halloween time and I think that had a lot to d with it. 🙂 I haven’t read any of these but they all look like good witchy reads- a nice mix of scary and not so scary. 🙂
Halloween is awesome. I can’t wait until next week!
I’ve seen both Practical Magic and The Witches as movies, but not read either book. I’ve actually never read anything by Dahl. I did read Witch of Blackbird Pond, but not until I was an adult.
I think Practical Magic is one of those rare cases where the book and movie are equally good, at least I thought so anyway. Roald Dahl is a lot of fun, especially for reading aloud, although The Witches is a lot scarier than I was expecting it to be.
I just love witch books and you hit on some great ones. I love Rice’s witch series even better than her vampires and always wished she would revisit it in some manner. I also adored Practical Magic – both the book and the movie – which is rare for me. I read the first Witches of East End book but never continued on. I liked it as well though. Great list!
Thanks! I’m pretty fascinated by all things witches, whether it’s books, movies, or TV series. I also completely agree with you on Anne Rice. As good as the vampires were, the witches were amazing.
I had no idea The Witches of East End was a book! I loved the show!
I actually still need to watch the show. I keep seeing it on Netflix and need to get busy on it.
I remember watching the film adaptation of The Witches by Roald Dahl and just being traumatised – so very scary! I was too scared afterwards to read the book, it took me a few months before I was brave enough to read it!
Oh, same here! Surprised me how scary it was.
I really love Halloween too 🙂 I love witches, but I’ve only read Beautiful Creatures from this list so I have some work to do 🙂
Halloween is awesome. Such a fun holiday 🙂
I loved The Worst Witch when I was a kid!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/top-ten-tuesday-80/
Same! Such a great read 🙂
Ah, I can never have too many witches to read about, so your list is perfect! Seeing The Witch of Blackbird Pond brings back SO many memories from when I was younger, so that’s some fun nostalgia. I’ve never heard of Daughters of the Witching Hill, but I am really intrigued by it. Great list!
Witches have always fascinated me. I love reading stories about them, and I love watching movies and TV shows about them too. I was so bummed when Charmed was cancelled for that reason.
I love the Worst Witch and the Practical Magic film. I’ve been a little wary of reading the book though, because I hear they’re very different.
Normally I prefer the books to the movies, but in this case, I’d say I liked them equally even though there are differences. Just thinking about Practical Magic has me wanting to watch the film now 🙂
Witches are my favorite supernatural creature! I’ve read a few of these. I really liked Witches of East End. I adore The Witches movie as a child but I still haven’t read the book! I’m looking forward to reading it when my boys get older. Fantastic list!
I love witches too. They’re always such fascinating characters in books. The book version of The Witches is scarier than I expected it to be but still a fantastic read.
I like witches. And I just realised that I have read so few books about them 😀