A huge thanks to Emer Flounders for organising this blog tour and inviting me along and thank you to Bianca Marais, MIra Books and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review .
A coven of modern-day witches. A magical heist-gone-wrong. A looming threat.
Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation.
But the mob is only the start of their troubles. One man is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy he claims was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. Then things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle instead of the solution to all their problems.
The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.
Funny, tender and uplifting, the novel explores the formidable power that can be discovered in aging, found family and unlikely friendships. Marais’ clever prose offers as much laughter as insight, delving deeply into feminism, identity and power dynamics while stirring up intrigue and drama through secrets, lies and sex. Heartbreaking and heart-mending, it will make you grateful for the amazing women in your life.
For me, this book is all about sisterhood, feminism, loving yourself and making the most of your talents. It’s a very unique book but it’s such fun to read and I really enjoyed it.
I will admit the unusual writing style took me a while to get into but once I did it became familiar and comfortable. It’s mostly written in the present tense which isn’t common in the books I usually read. Each chapter was really short and they were told from different character’s perspectives which kept the story flowing and allowed me to develop a really strong sense of each woman. At the end of each chapter is a cute recipe/spell which I thought was really fun too.
I loved the shenanigans and attitudes of the 5 women who live in Moonshyne Manor and I enjoyed exploring them all and learning more about each one. They all had their own strengths and vulnerabilities/worries and at times I completely forgot they were in their 80s as they were so forward thinking and vibrant. My favourite was Queenie I think as she often seemed as though she needed to protect the group and was sometimes more of a mother figure than a sister. I also loved the character of Persephone too – a very clever and amusing young lady.
The story is told through past and present and I enjoyed both aspects thoroughly. The past delves into how the sisterhood came together and their upbringing and troubles whilst the present goes into their fight to keep their beloved home and to be treat as equals and part of the community. This book provoked such a variety of emotion in me I found myself angered by the treatment of the women past and present and also chuckling away at their antics as well as warmed by their friendship and loyalty.
I have a feeling this book may mean something different to each person who reads it and that makes it really special. Such a unique book and a joy to read.
Author Bio – BIanca Marais
Bianca Marais hosts the popular podcast, ‘The Shit No One Tells You About Writing’, which is aimed at emerging writers/aspiring authors. She teaches creative writing through the podcast and at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies where she was named the winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing in 2021.
Before becoming an author, she volunteered in Soweto where she assisted care workers with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans and their caregivers.
Bianca champions the Own Voices movement in her country of birth, South Africa, where she runs the Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative to encourage and empower women of colour to tell their own stories.