08 July 2024

Review: Weyward by Emilia Hart

Weyward by Emilia Hart book cover

Weyward by Emilia Hart is a tale of three women from three different time periods covering a span of five centuries. In 1619 Altha is on trial for witchcraft, in 1942 Violet is fascinated by nature and insects and in 2019 Kate flees an abusive partner in London to seek refuge in her newly inherited Weyward cottage of the title.

Each of the three women face hardship and challenges to their agency. They each demonstrate resilience and struggle to harness their own inner power and strength stemming from the Weyward line of women before them.

All three characters have an affinity with nature and insects in particular, which gives rise to an accusation of witchcraft for Altha in the seventeenth century:
"Witch. The word slithers from the mouth like a serpent, drips from the tongue as thick and black as tar. We never thought of ourselves as witches, my mother and I. For this was a word invented by men, a word that brings power to those who speak it, not those it describes. A word that builds gallows and pyres, turns breathing women into corpses. No. It was not a word we ever used." Page 157
As you can see the writing is confident, the research seamless and the reading experience as enjoyable as any historical fiction novel by the likes of Philippa Gregory or Stacey Halls.
"She looked happy, hand in hand with her husband. Perhaps she was, then. Or perhaps I was standing too far away. A great many things look different from a distance. Truth is like ugliness: you need to be close to see it." Page 186
I was desperate for a makeover of the run down Weyward Cottage which sadly didn't come (I'm a sucker for a property makeover or fictional renovation of any kind) but each of the narratives were compelling and I enjoyed how they eventually fit together.

Born in Sydney and now residing in London, Emilia Hart is definitely an author to watch. Weyward by Emilia Hart is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction and strong female characters.

My Rating:

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