Strange Magic by Syd Moore is a great escapist read if you are looking for something light in these overwhelming times. I picked up this copy in Zurich, and I was drawn to the cover and the prospect of a witchy tale.
The plot centres on Rosie Strange who has just inherited her grandfather’s “Essex Witch Museum”. She wants to sell it, but like the all good roads paved with good intentions, she ends up on one hell of an adventure. Rosie and the museum’s curator, Sam, are asked to find the bones of a specific ‘witch’, Ursula Cadence. Her bones are needed to help free a boy from possession. Even though things start out fairly simple, the plot begins to twist and turn. Nothing is as it seems.
This book was extremely entertaining, and I read it rather quickly. In many ways, you could think of this book as just another fantasy adventure novel. Although, the book offers more than what is on the surface.
The “Essex Witch Museum” was founded by Rosie’s grandfather, Septimus, in the hopes to challenge the history around the witch trials in Essex and abroad. Witches, were never magical beings with broomsticks, but rather, they were healers, herbalists, and carers of communities. They held power, in a time and place where female power was feared. And if the lie of someone being a witch is repeated enough, it spreads like wildfire. Through repetitions, it becomes a truth.
Witches might be considered long gone by most people today, yet the legacy of the witch trials, the fear of female power and independence lives on today. Moore’s novel asks us to question how the past influences our understanding of female independence and power today. Furthermore, Moore asks us to question why we believe what we believe. After all, it could just be a lie repeated until it becomes truth.
I loved reading Moore’s novel, and can recommend this book if you want some adventure filled fantasy escapes while you stay home. What witchy reads are you enjoying at the moment? As always, share the reading love.