The Year of the Witching: A Review

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“Good people don’t bow their heads and bit their tongues while other good people suffer. Good people are not complicit.”

Hey Book Friends.

I finished “The Year of the Witching” by Alexis Henderson, and this was an unbelievable story of puritanical society, corrupt men, religious fanaticism, and witches. Powerful witches.

Brief synopsis: Immuanuelle Moore lives in Bethel, a stern community that considers the Prophet’s word as law, with her grandmother, grandfather, and the grandfather’s second wife & children. Almost everything is regarded as a sin and goes against the Church, especially Immanuelle’s existence: she comes from a long line of women, on her father’s side, who embrace witchcraft. Everyone in Bethel agrees: thou shall not enter the Darkwood surrounding their religious community, for it is the home of evil witches. However, an accident drags Immanuelle into the forest. She begins to uncover more about herself, Bethel, and her parents when given her mother’s diary from some powerful, dark forces from within the Darkwood.

This book was a rollercoaster. I haven’t been this scared of a book since “A Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Henderson created a story that mirrors creepy religious denominations and their obsession with a woman’s purity. Also, the author uses the absence of people of color from sacred texts as a background; how people who “looked like Immanuelle” were missing from the stain-glassed windows.

“The Year of the Witching” gives readers a look at the obsession with connecting a higher power—a divine being—based on how pure the women of the community remain, no matter how evil and sadistic the men are. An impression I picked up from the book is that the moral compass of a society begins and ends with women, and the treatment of a community’s women is the premier sign of sanctity. In Bethel, the Prophet’s word is the law; just a glance from the holy man is a religious experience. However, like similar religious figureheads, the Prophet is just a man who may be swayed by greed, lust, and other human tendencies.

“The Year of the Witching” was a good read but started slow. It takes a while to pick up…but once you do, it’s great. I’m a sucker for evil spirits, demonic possessions, and all that jazz. This book was right up my alley.

Four and a half stars.

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