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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Village in this stunning feminist debut....

Born on the fringes of Bethel, Immanuelle does her best to obey the Church and follow Holy Protocol. For it was in Bethel that the first Prophet pursued and killed four powerful witches and so cleansed the land.

And then a chance encounter lures her into the Darkwood that surrounds Bethel.

It is a forbidden place, haunted by the spirits of the witches who bestow an extraordinary gift on Immanuelle. The diary of her dead mother....

Fascinated by and fearful of the secrets the diary reveals, Immanuelle begins to understand why her mother once consorted with witches. And as the truth about the Prophets, the Church and their history is revealed, so Immanuelle understands what must be done. For the real threat to Bethel is its own darkness.

Bethel must change. And that change will begin with her....

©2020 Alexis Henderson (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A thrillingly brisk and bracing tale of magic and power...it takes the best tropes of horror and witchcraft and gives them a refreshingly feminist twist." (S.A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

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What listeners say about The Year of the Witching

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Thank god that's over!

I have been so bored with this, I just stuck it out because I used my monthly credit on it. pretty dull, monotone narration, and the two main characters have very similar names which led to confusion for me the entire book.

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Powerfully written

"Isn't it strange how reading a book is a sin, but locking a girl in the stocks and leaving her to the dogs is another day of the Good Father's work?"

The Year of the Witching is a stand out social commentary book of 2020, wrapped in beautiful fantasy horror casing. It touches on many themes within its beautifully written pages, including, but not limited to: sexism, racism, classism and religious ostracism.

TW: Parent Death, Death during Childbirth, Animal Sacrifice, Body Horror, Mutilation, Self Harm, Rape, Paedophilia, Plagues, Religion

We're set in a secluded town called Bethel, where the ruling class are the devout believers of the Father, in particular the Prophet who is the spokesman of the Father. This is a dystopian nightmare for anyone who is not devout, white or male. Women are taught that they serve one purpose: to serve their husbands and their family. If they were lucky they were chosen to serve the Prophet amongst his numerous wives. Women are property and are marked as such, with the Prophet cutting his mark into their forehead so everyone knows that they belong to him.

Immanuelle Moore is the young, brave MC of this novel who is judged by her parents sins. She has never had the chance to truly be herself out of the shadows of her mother, who left Bethel and entered the Darkwood, rebuked the Prophet and fell in love with an outsider, emerged from the Darkwood pregnant with Immanuelle, her love was burned at the pyre for their 'sins' and then she died giving birth to Immanuelle. Due to events out of her control, Immanuelle's life was forever altered and no matter what she did, she was always prejudged and was starting off at a disadvantage. She tries not to let this get to her and lives an empathetic, compassionate life thinking of how events impacts others, often letting herself get in the way of trouble to help others.

The witches in the Darkwood gift her her mothers diary, when Immanuelle ends up in the Darkwood unwillingly, which then leads her down a path that she can never turn back from. Fighting for her life and for the people of Bethel's lives, even if they would love to see her burned at the pyre. I loved the way that the witches were depicted, they were vengeful, they were strong, they were filled with ancient power and mysticism. There are no cookie cutter witches here.

There is a surprising romance in this novel, which I found to be quite heartwarming and added soul into the novel. I don't want to say too much about it, other than I absolutely loved Ezra as a character, a friend, and a LI.

"... complacency and complicity that were responsible for the deaths of generations of girls. It was the sickness that placed the pride of men before the innocents they were sworn to protect. It was a structure that exploited the weakest among them for the benefit of those born to power"

The feminist writings within this novel were incredibly powerful. There are very strong points made about the way that men in power kneel on the necks of girls and women in order to keep their power. The strength of these messages come from the journey you go through whilst reading this novel, and so I don't want to delve too deeply into it as I feel it's something best experienced personally.

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Absolutely stunning

Great story, great characters, beautifully written. It’s darker than your average YA, and a little more grounded, and I hung on every word!

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Best Witch book

This is truly an amazing story one of a kind, if you love witch story's and an coming of age for a young women this is the book for you.

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A glimpse back to the past

Good book to listen to. Sad hearing about the subjection woman were put through at the mercy of religion.

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  • Carly
  • 01-08-2020

Spell bound!

I couldn't listen to this book fast enough. It was completely enthralling. I found myself unable to read,listen, or watch anything else.
It will stay with you for a long time!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 07-11-2020

Loved this!

It was so suspenseful and I‘m gutted it‘s over. I loved how it touched upon feminism, had some queer representation and talked about colourism/race in a way that didn’t feel harsh or simply stylistic. I‘ll have to say this is my favourite book of the year and can‘t see anything topping this!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jade
  • 13-12-2020

good book

good book. but felt a little young.
probably more suited to teen or young adult.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 19-10-2020

A bit disappointing

I loved the ideas of this book, unfortunately I don't think they were executed as well as they could have been. The narration was not bad, but lacked a bit of life. Overall, the whole story seemed a little "meh" for lack of a better word. I didn't feel like you really connected with any of the characters, and they were all a bit bland. Had some great descriptions in it though, but it was a bit like the author couldn't decide when this was meant to be set; and for me, that distracted me as something about the whole book just seemed a bit off.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-10-2020

Breath Taking

loved this from beginning to end, truly captivating and had me on the edge of my seat

1 person found this helpful

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  • Debbie
  • 04-01-2021

Brilliant

Absolutely stunning read. I can see this as something Netflix could make and scare the pants of all of us.
A bloody tale of betrayal on a group of women whose only crime was all held the lineage. Recorded by the "church" as witches the current prophet holds dominium and his word is final.
The fact that he has hidden what he is doing is what drives these women to make a change. The last living of them is Immanuel, whose father was burned on a pyre and her mother driven to madness, she is the last hope, the strongest and the best equipped. With Ezra, the prophets son at her back they can face anything .... can't they?

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