Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Witches of Bone Hill by Ava Morgyn
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 26, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Cordelia Bone's meticulously crafted life and career in Dallas are crashing down around her thanks to a philandering husband with criminal debts.
When her older, carefree sister, Eustace—a cannabis grower in Boulder, calls to inform her the great aunt they never met has died and they must travel to a small town in Connecticut to deal with the estate, she sees an opportunity to unload the house and save herself.
But once there, the sisters learn they are getting much more than they bargained for. The Victorian mansion they stand to inherit is bound in a dynasty trust controlled by their late aunt's aging attorney who insists they inhabit the house and retain it but keeps them in the dark about the peculiar rituals of their ancestors. Not to mention a sexy, tattooed groundskeeper with a shrouded past who refuses to leave the carriage house and a crypt full of dead relatives looming at the property line.
The title and that gorgeous cover caught my eye when I was considering fall books for Spooky Reading Season. Ava Morgyn is a new to me author and I didn’t pay close attention to the synopsis or the buzz about The Witches of Bone Hill when I took it up and started reading. What a bewitching and somewhat dark magical read.
I don’t generally run to book comparisons, but as a recent fan of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series, I was tickled to find a story that would compare well. Two very opposite sisters who drifted apart as adults, come from a long line of female witches with a creepy family legacy and old home in New England with a picturesque bittersweet writing style as well. Check!
But, The Witches of Bone Hill is its own tale. For one, the two sisters didn’t know they were witches or much about the family legacy that brought them home. Oh sure, the pair of them were aware they had certain uncomfortable gifts and their mother was always oddly silent about some things, quirky in her own way, and adamantly full of very eccentric rules they must live by, but it only starts to make sense when their great aunt dies and they must return to the sentient house on Bone Hill in Connecticut and learn their power before it’s too late.
There is an ominous tone that grows stronger so that I was getting the heebie jeebies and could only read in broad daylight once the story got rolling (take that with a grain of salt since I’m a wuss about horror and others might see this as mild). Eustace with her free spirit ways accepts the situation better than skeptical, world-weary Cordelia who just went through a divorce with her cheating con artist ex who took her to the cleaners and his debts have the mob sicced on her. Cordelia is the narrator and the story unfolds from her perspective. I liked that there were surrounding characters that had the sisters unsure as to their intentions good or malevolent and the mysterious caretaker. There is romance, but it was properly secondary to the harrowing magic and mystery the sisters’ face.
All in all, this was a grisly, murky and truly satisfying spooky read that I can recommend to those looking for something to thrill at the witching hour.
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