Of all the mythological figures in literature, none is as iconic as the witch. Stories about witches have been told in various forms for millennia, with the first known literary reference to witches dating back to Biblical times.
Witches are compelling characters because of their multifaceted natures in myth and folklore.
A term usually used to refer to women, a witch can be either fearsome or benevolent, beautiful or hideous, depending on who you ask. Often, she can be both at once.
The figure of the witch is not constrained by the dichotomies and rules imposed on individuals by society, however much Medieval and Early Modern European beliefs may have tried to fit her into the box of ‘ugly, evil old woman’.
If you look at the best books about witches from centuries ago until the present day, you’ll see how diverse and powerful these portrayals are.
I have created a list of the 47 best books about witches, including some literary classics and recent bestsellers.
Spanning fiction and nonfiction, as well as various genres and cultural traditions, these books about witches and witchcraft are sure to leave you spellbound.
The 47 Best Books About Witches
These are the 47 best books about witches across all genres.
Whether you’re interested in learning about the history of witches and witchcraft, are looking for stories about strong women defying oppression, or just want a spooky read for dark, stormy nights, you’ll find something here that you will love.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is one of the most well-known books about witches. It’s actually a play, and it was written based on the events of the Salem witch trials in 1692.
This book addresses the theory that the Salem witch trials were partially caused by religiously-motivated mass hysteria.
In the play, some young girls are found to have been dancing in the woods at night – behavior that was associated with witchcraft at the time.
The girls begin to accuse other people to escape blame, starting a chain reaction of accusations and paranoia.
The Crucible may be based on the past, but it still serves as a warning of what can happen when religious beliefs and prejudice infiltrate the legal system.
- A short and relatively easy read
- Powerful commentary on religion, politics, and justice
- Based on historical events, which makes the story more moving
- Not totally historically accurate
The Familiars is one of the most successful novels about witches published in recent years.
Like The Crucible, The Familiars is based on real-life witch trials, although this book is set in England during the year 1612 when the Pendle witch trials were taking place.
The protagonist of the story, Fleetwood, is frightened when her husband receives a letter suggesting she will die during her pregnancy.
When she meets Alice Gray, a midwife who ensures her that she can save her, both Fleetwood and Alice attract the suspicion of the authorities and are drawn into the horrors of the Pendle witch trials.
- Demonstrates a lot of research into the Pendle witch trials
- Descriptive writing creates a sense of immersion
- Suspense and tension build effectively throughout the novel
- Not much character development overall
Anne Rice is one of the greatest supernatural writers of all time, and The Witching Hour is a brilliant example of her work.
This book is part of a series called Lives of Mayfair Witches. The story unfolds in New Orleans and follows Rowan Mayfair as she finds a man dead on the beach and uses her powers to revive him.
The two quickly fall in love, but both have aspects of their pasts and identities that they don’t fully understand.
As the novel goes back and forth between the modern day and the seventeenth century, terrible secrets are uncovered, and unimaginable choices must be made.
- A complex story that keeps you guessing
- Intense and emotional from the start
- An immersive writing style that draws the reader in
- Very long and could have been shorter to quicken the pace
If you love Gothic horror and are interested in portrayals of witches in Mexican culture, The Hacienda is the book for you.
This book is set in Mexico during the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence. Beatriz’s father was executed during the war, leaving her and her mother in a dire financial situation.
Because of this, Beatriz is forced to marry out of necessity, but she soon realizes that her husband and the house she moves into may be even more of a threat. There is only one way to save herself: witchcraft.
- Blends horror, Gothic, historical fiction, and romance
- Excellent characterization, including minor characters
- The writing style is engaging and flows well
- Not very fast-paced, which may bore some readers
Practical Magic is one of the most famous and well-loved books about witches, and it’s even been made into a popular movie.
The story revolves around Gillian and Sally, two sisters who have grown up with their eccentric aunts in a house filled with black cats and potions.
The sisters may have resented being associated with witchcraft in their youth, but once they move away and build separate lives, they feel themselves drawn back together by some kind of irresistible force…
- Heartwarming portrayals of familial relationships
- Emotional and funny at the same time
- Deep, complex, and realistic characters
- Quite different from the movie, which can be disappointing for fans of the film
If you’re interested in learning in-depth about how attitudes towards the mythological figure of the witch differ from culture to culture and have shifted throughout history, you need to read The Witch by Ronald Hutton.
This book digs deep into some of the well-known stereotypes and assumptions surrounding witches and unpacks them from a historical and cultural perspective.
Hutton investigates and challenges the typical portrayal of the witch as an evil old woman and points out the historical events and societal fears that led to its development, as well as highlighting different witch beliefs from around the world.
- Extremely informative and extensively researched
- Challenges common perceptions of witches and witch beliefs, encouraging new perspectives
- Comprehensive and detailed
- Very scholarly writing style with a lot of source material, which is not to everyone’s taste
You’re probably familiar with the musical based on this book, but if you’re a fan of the Broadway show, you should absolutely read the book as well.
Wicked tells the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.
Although the character of Elphaba is an all-out villain in the classic movie, this book shows a side to her that fans of the film could never have guessed.
Portraying Elphaba as a misunderstood woman taking a stand against the sociopolitical issues in the Land of Oz, Gregory Maguire produces an astute commentary on how speaking up against injustice can lead to being villainized.
- Conveys important messages about the treatment of differences in society
- Clever reframing of a well-known narrative
- A beautiful writing style that describes the world vividly
- Very dark in places, so definitely not a book for children
This book is an absolute classic, and witchcraft might not be a central aspect of the book, but the character of the White Witch is one of the most iconic and timeless villains in the history of literature.
When the Pevensie children are evacuated to the countryside in the midst of World War II, they discover a hidden world in the back of an old wardrobe.
At first, the land of Narnia seems enchanting, but in the absence of the great lion Aslan, the tyrannical White Witch has trapped its inhabitants in a cruel and endless winter.
It is up to the children to confront this terrible foe and free Narnia from a terrible fate.
- A timeless classic filled with magic and wonder
- Suitable for children and adults alike
- A powerful narrative of good versus evil
- Lots of religious symbolism, which may not be palatable for everyone
If you want to experience one of the most iconic portrayals of witchcraft in literary history, you should read William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
There are plenty of other reasons to read Macbeth outside of the witchcraft aspect (which is actually fairly minor in the context of the plot).
Widely considered to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest works, Macbeth is a powerful tale of the destructive potential of ambition, power, and greed.
However, the reason I’ve recommended it as one of the best books about witches is that the Three Witches, or ‘weird sisters’, are a perfect embodiment of Early Modern attitudes towards witchcraft.
Not only that, but even though they don’t feature in many scenes throughout the play, they are indirectly responsible for the unfolding of the plot in many ways.
- There is an important moral behind the story
- A play with a lot of psychological depth
- Textual notes to help with understanding
- The Early Modern English may be difficult to read for those who aren’t familiar with writing from this time period
The Bone Witch is the first of three books in a series, but once you’ve read this installment, you’ll be itching to read the rest.
This story centers around the character of Tea, who only realizes she has a special power when she unintentionally brings her brother back from the dead.
On the surface, this seems like a useful gift to have, but there’s one problem: this power makes Tea a necromancer or Bone Witch, and she is feared and disowned by her own community for this.
When Tea meets another Bone Witch, who encourages her to harness the full extent of her power, she commits herself to becoming a powerful wielder of elemental magic. But mysterious, dark forces are nearby. Will Tea hone her stills in time?
- Suitable for various age ranges, from teenagers to adults
- Explores socially relevant themes such as gender roles and prejudice
- Great world-building makes for an immersive reading experience
- Somewhat predictable in terms of plot
The Heretic’s Daughter is a work of historical fiction that centers around the Salem witch trials.
The narrator of this story is Sarah Chapman, an elderly woman who writes to her granddaughter to tell her the truth about how she survived the trials over 60 years prior.
Her story begins with her arrival in New England and takes the reader through her experience of the mounting hysteria leading up to the trials, and eventually, the trials themselves.
It is at this point that Sarah reveals the terrible choice she had to make: save herself, or condemn another.
- Lots of character development
- A unique take on the events of the Salem witch trials
- Poignant and compelling
- Too much description for the tastes of some readers
A lot of the best books about witches are works of historical fiction, but if you’re looking for a witchy tale set in the modern day, Grim Lovelies will be perfect for you.
Grim Lovelies is set in Paris and is told from the perspective of Anouk. Anouk is not your average 17-year-old girl. In fact, she isn’t really a girl at all, but a ‘beastie’.
She was transformed from her animal form into a human and is enslaved to the malevolent witch, Mada Vittora.
When Mada is found dead one day, Anouk is the number one suspect. On the run in the dark and shadowy streets of Paris, Anouk joins an underground society of other beasties in the hopes of catching the killer before Mada’s spell fades.
- Fairy tale themes create a familiar and enchanting story
- Interesting and fresh premise despite the use of common tropes
- Effective commentary on the social hierarchy
- Could have been better with more character development
No matter how old or young you are, it’s always worth reading The Witches by Roald Dahl.
Roald Dahl is a celebrated children’s author and has written 49 books, in addition to short stories, but there’s no doubt that The Witches is one of his best.
The story begins tragically, with the protagonist losing his parents in a car accident. While in the care of his grandmother, he learns of the existence of the most dangerous creatures to walk the earth: witches.
Little does this young boy know that he will soon meet the most formidable and frightening witch of all: The Grand High Witch.
- Very funny in places, which makes the book ideal for both children and adults
- Action-packed and fun to read
- Short chapters are convenient to read in short bursts
- Some creepy elements that may be upsetting for very young children
When a storm hits a small village in the Arctic in 1617, the entire population of men is killed, leaving the women to take charge.
For a while, things seem to move in the right direction, as Maren and her fellow woman take over the tasks the men used to perform.
However, when Absalom Cornet, a witchfinder from Scotland, arrives with the goal of taking over the village, a new kind of storm closes in.
As Maren and Cornet’s wife form a close bond, Absalom continues to persecute the all-female population of Finnmark.
Inspired by real-life events, this is a moving tale of quiet resistance and hope in the face of prejudice and violence.
- A clear and impactful writing style makes the storytelling more powerful
- Loosely based on real events from the 1600s
- Realistic and intimate relationships between characters
- Tells a lot instead of showing in some places
Looking for the best YA novels about witches? In that case, you should read Beautiful Creatures. Beautiful Creatures is the first novel in the Caster Chronicles series, and it’s already been made into a successful movie.
The story’s protagonist is 15-year-old Lena, who has a magical gift as well as a curse that she keeps hidden from everyone around her.
That is, until her 16th birthday, when she is forced to choose one of two options: Light, or Dark?
Lena’s choice will see her life and relationships threatened as she strives to keep her boyfriend safe. Meanwhile, secrets emerge and darkness closes in by the day.
- The plot starts unfolding quickly, pulling you in straight away
- Unexpected plot twists at several stages
- Well-written descriptions of the setting are immersive
- Some obvious similarities to the Twilight saga
The Wicked Deep is Shea Ernshaw’s debut novel, and it has received rave reviews from critics.
The story takes place in the town of Sparrow, where witch trials took place over 200 years ago.
Now, in the present day, it seems that the ghosts of the three sisters who drowned for witchcraft return every summer and commit terrible acts of revenge.
When Bo Carter arrives in the village, Penny Talbot sees it as her duty to protect him. There’s just one problem: in order to save him, she will have to sacrifice herself.
- The writing and scene setting is very atmospheric
- The central mystery element keeps you on your toes
- Relatively fast-paced for most of the book
- Some of the relationships between characters feel a bit rushed
I’ve already recommended a nonfiction book about the history of witchcraft beliefs, but if you’re interested in the Salem witch trials specifically, A Storm of Witchcraft is for you.
This book explores the historical events of the Salem witch trials based on the source material that has been discovered so far.
Importantly, Baker doesn’t try to pinpoint a single reason for the trials but appreciates that multiple factors contributed to the hysteria and panic that spurred on the execution of 19 men and women.
From the new government that took over Salem shortly before the trials to the frontier war, Baker outlines the elements of the ‘perfect storm’ of tragedy and injustice.
- Lots of background on the events preceding the trials
- Extremely detailed and informative
- Uses a lot of source material to support the points in the book
- The explanations of genealogy can be confusing
In this bestselling novel, witches have the power to control the climate. In fact, witches have been responsible for keeping the natural world in order for centuries, but now, they are losing control.
As forms and natural disasters create chaos on earth, Clara, an Everwitch whose powers can be applied to every season, is faced with a difficult choice: use her magic to save the earth, at the cost of losing her loved ones, or allowing her home to be destroyed.
- The climate-related urgency throughout the novel is relevant to current events
- Interesting use of epigraphs before each chapter
- The beautiful writing style makes for stunning descriptions of scenery
- Overuse of certain words can feel repetitive
Hester Fox has written several books about witches, but The Witch of Willow Hall is one of her best.
A historical, Gothic novel set in the year 1821, the story follows Lydia Montrose, who recently fled Boston for the country estate of Willow Hall with her family after they were hit by scandal.
Willow Hall was supposed to be a place of safety, but not long after they arrive, Lydia begins to hear strange noises at nighttime.
Already haunted by her family’s connection to the historic Salem witch trials, Lydia must now contend with the dark forces of Willow Hall.
Only by harnessing her own power can she save those she loves from a terrible fate.
- Creepy and atmospheric throughout
- The mystery plot draws the reader in almost immediately
- Chilling horror elements make the story emotionally impactful
- Character development could have been better
If you’ve read any historical accounts of the Salem witch trials, you probably know who Tituba is.
Tituba was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials and languished in jail for 2 years, seemingly totally forgotten by the legal system.
Tituba had been a slave, and the evidence surrounding her arrest and trial points to racism as a key motivator in her sentencing.
This novel is a fictional take on the story of Tituba, expanding the story we already know, detailing Tituba’s childhood, and recounting her life all the way through to old age.
- Very moving and emotionally intense
- The protagonist is written to be relatable and likable
- Originally written in French, but the translation is excellent
- Sensitive themes may upset some readers
The Witch of Blackbird Pond was awarded the Newbery Medal, so it’s definitely worth reading if you love stories about witches and magic.
Set in 1687, the novel tells the story of Kit Tyler, who moves to Connecticut from Barbados, and is immediately treated with hostility by the residents.
When Kit befriends Hannah, who is suspected of witchcraft, she finds herself in even more danger as the threat to both girls’ safety mounts with each passing day.
Ultimately, Kit is forced to make an impossible choice that will change the trajectory of her life forever.
- Quite short and easy to read
- Enjoyable coming of age story
- A strong female protagonist is a symbol of empowerment for young women
- The plot is a little predictable after a point
A Great and Terrible Beauty is a historical novel set in 1895. It centers around Gemma Doyle, who is 16 years old and has just left India to attend an English boarding school.
Gemma is struggling with guilt and loneliness, hiding the fact that she frequently has visions of future events.
These visions often come true, and even more alarming, a man she doesn’t know seems to be watching her every move.
As Gemma is drawn deeper into the spiritual world of her visions and into the world of Spence boarding school, the only thing she can be sure of is that nothing is certain.
- Believable protagonist
- Well-researched historical setting
- Suspenseful paranormal elements
- It’s easy to see some of the plot twists ahead of time
The Witches by Stacy Schiff is one of the best historical accounts of the Salem witch trials and one of the best books about witches ever published.
Not to be confused with Roald Dahl’s children’s book, this book examines the conditions that led to the condemnation of so many innocent people as witches during the 17th century.
Although this is a history book, it’s not dry or difficult to get through like other texts on the same subject. Instead, the information unfolds like a narrative and keeps the reader hooked.
Not only does Schiff go into the political and religious reasons for the persecution of suspected witches, but she also delves into the potential psychological catalysts for the witch trials.
This is a fascinating read that is suitable for anyone interested in the Salem witch trials, whether history books are usually your thing or not.
- Narrative-style writing to make the facts easier to digest
- Explores the reasons for the Salem witch trials from various perspectives
- Good balance of facts and theorizing to provoke thought
- Slightly longer than it needed to be
If you prefer graphic novels to traditional books, and love stories about witches, Salt Magic should be your next read.
This is the story of Vonceil, whose older brother returns to the family farm in Oklahoma after serving in the First World War.
Understandably, he seems changed, and a seemingly newfound sense of responsibility leads him to get married.
However, when a strange woman arrives at the farm, accusing Elber of abandonment and cursing the family and town when he refuses to leave with her, panic ensues.
All water supplies are turned to salt water, and Vonceil must act fast to uncover the truth and undo the curse before it’s too late.
- Adventurous and action-packed
- Beautiful illustrations throughout
- Nuanced and complex characters
- Aimed at children, so may not be as interesting for adults
Another incredible novel by Hester Fox, The Widow of Pale Harbor is an atmospheric and compelling tale of witchcraft.
This is also a work of historical fiction set in 1846. The protagonist, Gabriel, is haunted by strange specters following the death of his wife.
In an effort to escape them, he travels to Maine and becomes a minister for Pale Harbor village.
Unfortunately, Gabriel seems to have moved from the frying pan into the fire, as sinister unexplained events in the town are blamed on a suspected witch, Sophronia Carver.
But is Sophronia truly responsible for these acts, or is the real culprit lurking around the corner?
- Eerie atmosphere consistent with the Gothic genre
- Characters are easy to empathize with
- Multiple perspectives add depth to the mystery
- The romance plot is less well-executed than other elements of the novel
The Witch’s Daughter is the perfect witchy read for those who enjoy historical fiction as well as stories set in the present day.
This novel switches between the 17th century and the modern day, following the extraordinarily long life of Elizabeth Hawksmith.
Having survived the murderous Witchfinder of Wessex in 1628 with the help of Warlock Gideon Masters, Elizabeth has lived for nearly four centuries, hunted for payment by the same man who saved her life.
Now, living in England, Elizabeth meets Tegan, a teenage girl, and teaches her the ancient knowledge she possesses. But Gideon is drawing ever closer, and both Tegan and Elizabeth are in danger.
- Powerful messages about love and sacrifice
- Impressive writing style creates an ethereal atmosphere
- Satisfying ending with potential for a sequel
- Conflates modern day Wicca with traditional witchcraft practices
Whether you’ve watched the series yet or not, if you love a story that involves witches, you should read Good Omens.
Written by not one, but two of the greatest storytellers in recent years, Good Omens is an international bestseller.
The story begins with a prophecy made by the witch Agnes Nutter, which declares that the world will end on the following Saturday.
What ensues is an uprising of both good and evil, complicated by the fact that one angel and one demon, who are accustomed to living in the mortal world, are resistant to the idea of change on such a large scale as the Rapture.
- Very amusing from start to finish
- Believable chemistry between the two main characters
- Footnotes add to the fun of the writing
- The religious commentary may be offensive to some readers
For a Chinese-American perspective on witchcraft, The Witch’s Market is an incredible read.
The story follows Eileen Chen, assistant professor of folk religion, as she wrestles with her personal disbelief in witchcraft combined with her fascination with it.
As part of a research project, Eileen travels to the Canary Islands, where she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the culture and beauty of the island of Tenerife.
After visiting a local market selling spells, amulets, and charms, and falling in love, Eileen must decide whether she will return to her old way of living or put her faith in this new life she has discovered.
- Descriptive writing immerses readers in the setting
- The mystery element provides gripping plot twists
- Well-paced and easy to read
- Not as well-received as some of the author’s previous works
Described as a kind of fairy tale for adults, The Vine Witch is the story of Elena Boureanu, a witch responsible for diving harvests in the Chanceaux Valley… That is until she is cursed.
Elena manages to break the evil spell placed on her, but her magic is weakened in the process, and she must now not only recover her powers but her inheritance: the vineyard, which is now owned by Jean-Paul, a vigneron who doesn’t believe in magic.
Forced to conceal her identity, Elena plots an act of vengeance against the one who cursed her, knowing that they could soon strike again.
- Beautiful descriptions of the French countryside
- Magical realism is well-executed
- A fresh and unique concept
- A lot of modern language used for historical fiction
A Secret History of Witches has been one of the most talked-about books featuring witches in recent years. If you love historical fiction and all things witchcraft, this is the book for you.
This is a generational story of magic in 19th-century France, centering around the Orchire family.
The Orchires have always practiced magic, but when Ursule, the grandmother, sacrifices herself for her family, all of their powers seem to disappear – that is, until the youngest girl comes of age.
With the Second World War fast approaching, the Orchire family must maintain a balance between mastering magic and concealing it.
- Deals with historical elements and the passage of time effectively
- Excellent use of descriptive language to capture the magic
- Moving portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship
- Reads like a history book at times, which may not be for everyone
Those who are looking for the best contemporary books about witches will fall in love with Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex.
Vivienne is a witch, and that’s why, when her ex-boyfriend broke her heart several years ago, she put a curse on him.
She didn’t intend for the curse to be too serious, but when her ex returns to the town years later, she notices that he seems to be plagued by one disaster after another.
And that’s not all. Soon, the entire town seems to be afflicted. Vivienne must now work with the man who broke her heart to stop the curse before any more harm is done.
- Fun and easy to read quickly
- A clever combination of romantic comedy and paranormal genres
- Likable main characters
- Not much world-building
In Kirsten Miller’s The Change, the lives of three women are changed forever when they are all drawn to the scene of a murder.
Although the police have closed the case, neither Harriett, Jo, nor Nessa believes that the truth has yet to be uncovered.
Deciding to investigate for themselves, the trio discovers more crimes against young women – and the real culprits.
The three protagonists in The Change all have their own unique powers.
While Nessa can hear voices, Harriett and Jo are also discovering that they have gifts they never knew they possessed until they reached midlife.
This is an incredible novel that manages to comment effectively on the reality of menopause and midlife crises while enticing the reader through a chilling thriller narrative.
- Powerful message about the societal treatment of women
- Multiple strong female protagonists
- The well-executed storyline with a lot of plot twists
- Some potentially sensitive themes
Akata Witch is one of the most powerful books about witches written in recent years.
Set in Nigeria, this novel centers on the protagonist Sunny Nwazue, who is struggling to navigate her identity as a young West African woman due to being born in New York and being albino.
When Sunny discovers that she has magical powers and joins a group of magic students, she finds herself drawn into the investigation of a powerful criminal.
Despite her training, this will be a dangerous undertaking, and the lives of many others could be at stake.
Nnedi Okorafor does an excellent job of incorporating the concept of witches into the science fiction genre while imparting important messages about cultural identity, the education system, and coming of age.
- Touches on important social and cultural issues
- The immersive and interesting world-building
- Good character development
- A simple writing style that might not be for everyone
This novel is not only a national bestseller, but also one of the most well-written books about witches.
The focus of the story is the Montoya family. This family is led by a matriarch who has not left the family home in many years – until, that is, they receive an invitation to her funeral.
It takes seven years for the gifts of Orquidea Divina’s inheritance to start appearing, but when they do, it soon becomes clear that the family is under attack, and that someone is trying to end the family line.
Orquidea’s descendants must now journey to Ecuador and uncover the secrets of her life that remain in order to save themselves.
- Beautiful imagery conveyed through detailed writing
- Dual-timeline narrative helps the story unfold at a good pace
- Moving story about family love and strength
- Many characters with complex backstories complicate the story slightly
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is one of the most interesting books about witches you’ll ever read. If you’re fascinated by the history of the Salem witch trials, you’ll love this work of historical fiction.
In this novel, Connie Goodwin has recently graduated from Harvard and is researching for her doctoral dissertation.
Around the same time, Connie is tasked with selling her grandmother’s Salem home, which has been abandoned for years.
As Connie explores the house, she discovers a key with a piece of paper bearing a strange name.
Determined to find out who ‘Deliverance Dane’ is, or was, Connie, embarks on a quest for knowledge that leads her to a terrifying tale of witchcraft and persecution.
- Well-researched from a historical perspective
- Interesting combination of a fictional narrative with an academic writing style
- Compelling mystery plot
- Frequent switches between time periods may feel disorienting
Voodoo Queen is an essential read for anyone who is interested in witchcraft from the perspective of indigenous American culture.
Marie Laveau has become an iconic figure in New Orleans and around the world.
Along with her daughter, she has also become an emblem of resistance and freedom from the oppression faced by Creole communities in Louisiana and around the United States.
This book explores the spiritual practices of the two Marie Laveaus, as well as their lives, and how a form of witchcraft that is still considered ‘evil’ in many parts of the world actually represents emancipation, liberation, and creativity.
- Very informative and based on a lot of research
- Not too long or difficult to read
- Shines a light on a misunderstood spiritual practice
- Because of their identical names, distinguishing between mother and daughter can be difficult
The Witches of New York is set in 1880. Spiritualism is on the rise, and so along with scientific advances, new methods of practicing magic and communicating with the dead are on the rise.
When Beatrice Dunn arrives at the Tea and Sympathy tea shop, Eleanor and Adelaide hire her to fill an unspecified role.
Not yet aware of her own magical powers, Beatrice thrives with the guidance of Adelaide and Eleanor, learning how to harness her magic.
Soon, however, it becomes clear that these powers are more dangerous to Beatrice than any of the women initially thought.
There are dark forces creeping in the shadows, and Beatrice will have to risk her own life to confront them.
- Vivid and imaginative descriptions of the setting
- Told from multiple perspectives, giving insight into the central characters
- Important and empowering focus on the strength of relationships between women
- Fairly slow-paced and not much action for the most part
There’s no shortage of books about witches to choose from. Some of the best fantasy, Gothic, historical fiction, and magical realism books are about witches, as are some of the most interesting non-fiction history books.
How To Choose The Best Books About Witches
Consider Different Genres
The good news if you want to read more books about witches is that you’re not limited to one or two genres.
There are so many different kinds of books that address the theme of witchcraft and have characters that are witches.
For example, my list of recommendations features historical fiction, YA, contemporary, thriller, mystery, magical realism, fantasy, and even children’s books.
It’s a good idea to choose books in genres you know you enjoy, but you might also want to consider branching out into other genres for a new experience.
Fiction Or Nonfiction?
In addition to spanning many different genres, books about witches can also be found in both the fiction and nonfiction categories of literature. I have included fiction and nonfiction books in my recommendations.
Some people just like to read fiction, while others enjoy learning from nonfiction books.
Whatever you prefer is fine, although I think it’s a good idea to read about watches from both a fictional and non-fictional perspective.
The portrayals of witches we come across in fiction books are frequently based on real cultural traditions and historical events, and it’s important to be informed so as not to confuse fiction with fact.
Age And Reading Level
Some of the recommended books on my list are aimed at children, whereas others are aimed at teenagers, young adults, or adults.
It’s important to bear this in mind because some themes in books about witches for adults may be unsuitable for young children.
If you are a minor yourself or are buying a book about witches for a child, make sure to check what age range a book is appropriate for before you start reading.
Choosing the best books about witches involves deciding whether you want a fictional or nonfiction read, choosing a genre, and selecting a book that’s appropriate for your age and reading level.
Best Books About Witches – From Classic to Modern
Are you a fan of witchcraft and looking to dive into some of the best books featuring witches? Look no further, as we explore the rich history of witchcraft in literature and some of the most popular books about witches for different age ranges. From classic witchcraft novels to children’s books featuring witches, there’s no shortage of witch-inspired literature to explore!
The Rich History of Witchcraft in Literature
The depiction of witches in literature dates back centuries, with early depictions of witches often associated with evil and devil worship. In the medieval period, numerous books were written about witchcraft, such as the infamous Malleus Maleficarum. However, it was during the 16th and 17th centuries that the Salem Witch Trials in America led to a heightened interest in witches in literature.
Early Depictions of Witches in Books
One of the earliest books featuring witches is Macbeth by William Shakespeare, written in 1606. The three witches in the play are depicted as manipulative and dark, with their prophecies leading to tragic consequences for the main character. Other early works featuring witches include The Witch by Thomas Middleton, written in 1616, and The Masque of Queens by Ben Jonson, written in 1609.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, witches were often depicted as old and ugly women who practiced black magic and were in league with the devil. These depictions can be seen in literature such as Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and La Sorcière by Jules Michelet. These works solidified the archetype of the witch as a sinister and malevolent figure.
The Evolution of the Witch Archetype
As time passed, the portrayal of witches in literature evolved. In the 20th century, witches were often depicted as powerful figures in feminist literature. Writers such as Marion Zimmer Bradley and Margaret Atwood created female characters who were witches and who used their magic to fight against oppressive patriarchal systems. This new interpretation of witches as powerful and feminist figures challenged the traditional portrayal of witches as evil and subversive.
In modern times, witches are often portrayed as complex characters with their own motivations, rather than solely being depicted as evil or subversive. Some modern interpretations of witches even seek to cast them in a positive light. For example, in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the character Hermione Granger is a witch who uses her magic to fight against evil and to help her friends. Similarly, in the television series Charmed, the three main characters are witches who use their powers to protect the innocent and fight against evil forces.
Overall, the portrayal of witches in literature has undergone a significant evolution over the centuries. From early depictions of witches as evil and devilish figures to modern portrayals of witches as complex and powerful characters, the witch archetype has remained a popular and enduring figure in literature.
Classic Witchcraft Novels
Many classic novels feature witches as main characters or influential players, and these stories continue to captivate readers. Let’s explore some of the best-loved classic witchcraft books:
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
First published in 1990, The Witching Hour is a gripping tale that spans generations. The story follows a family of witches called the Mayfairs, who possess powerful abilities and are linked to a mysterious spirit known as Lasher. Rice’s rich descriptions and complex characters make this a must-read for fans of dark, supernatural tales.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Set during the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, The Crucible is a classic play that depicts the hysteria and fear that gripped the town during this period. Originally written in 1953 as a commentary on the McCarthy hearings, this play has become a staple of high school English classrooms for its themes of hysteria and mob mentality.
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike
In this 1984 novel, Updike tells the story of three women who discover their mysterious powers as witches. Set in a small Rhode Island town, the women must navigate societal expectations and their own desires as they come to terms with their newfound abilities.
Young Adult Witchcraft Books
While classic witchcraft novels have a timeless appeal, young adult witchcraft books bring a fresh perspective to the genre. Here are some of the most popular:
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
No list of young adult witchcraft books would be complete without mentioning the Harry Potter series. These beloved books follow the adventures of a young boy who discovers he’s a wizard and attends a magical school called Hogwarts. With memorable characters and a richly detailed world, these books have captured the hearts of readers worldwide.
The Harry Potter series not only explores themes of good versus evil, but also touches on deeper topics such as loss, love, and the power of friendship. The magical creatures and spells featured in the books are based on real-life folklore and mythology, adding to the enchantment of the series.
The Graces by Laure Eve
First published in 2016, The Graces tells the story of a teenage girl named River who becomes friends with a group of popular students who are rumored to be witches. As she becomes more involved with the group, River must navigate their secrets and her own desires, all while attempting to uncover the truth about their powers.
The novel explores the themes of power, identity, and the desire to fit in. The characters in The Graces are complex and multifaceted, making the reader question their true intentions and motivations. The book also touches on the danger of obsession and the consequences that come with it.
The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
This fantasy series follows a pair of witches named Safi and Iseult who must navigate political intrigue and a dark magical force that’s threatening their world. With its fast-paced action and dynamic characters, the Witchlands series is a thrilling read for fans of epic fantasy.
The Witchlands series not only features strong female protagonists, but also explores themes of sisterhood, loyalty, and the power of friendship. The world-building in the series is intricate and detailed, with a complex magic system that adds depth to the story. The books also touch on the consequences of power and the corrupting influence it can have.
Children’s Books Featuring Witches
Witches have captured the imaginations of children for generations, and these children’s books featuring witches continue to be popular today. Here are some of the most beloved:
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
This classic book follows Mildred Hubble, a student at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. Though she’s not the most talented witch, Mildred learns valuable lessons about friendship and determination in this heartwarming story.
As Mildred navigates the ups and downs of life at a witch academy, she discovers that being true to herself is more important than trying to be someone she’s not. She also learns the importance of standing up for what’s right, even when it’s not the popular choice.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
In this beloved children’s book, the Grand High Witch plots to turn all the children in England into mice. The story follows a young boy named Luke who, with the help of his grandmother, must foil the Grand High Witch’s plans.
As Luke and his grandmother hatch a plan to stop the Grand High Witch, they encounter a cast of quirky characters, including a talking mouse and a group of witches who are not quite what they seem. The story is filled with Dahl’s trademark humor and wit, making it a favorite among readers of all ages.
Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson
In this charming tale, two competitors vie for the hand of the wizard Arriman the Awful. With its quirky characters and lighthearted tone, Which Witch? is a perfect read for young readers who love stories of magic and whimsy.
As the witches compete in a series of challenges to win Arriman’s heart, they discover that true love can’t be won through trickery or deceit. Along the way, they learn valuable lessons about the importance of honesty, kindness, and being true to oneself.
No matter your age or reading preferences, books featuring witches continue to captivate and inspire readers. From classic novels to young adult fiction and children’s books, there’s no shortage of witch-inspired literature to explore. So light some candles, brew a cup of tea, and get lost in the world of witchcraft literature!
Books about witches have always been some of the most anticipated and well-received works of both fiction and nonfiction.
Not only is the witch an iconic figure in myth and legend, featuring in some of the first fairy tales we are told as children, but historical events such as the Salem witch trials have fueled a widespread fascination with the subject of witchcraft.
Whether you’re interested in reading fantasy, magical realism, or Gothic fiction centering around witches and witchcraft, or want to learn more about witches from a cultural and historical perspective, the books listed in this article should provide you with plenty of reading inspiration.
If you’re interested in the best books about witches from the historical fiction genre, books like The Witches of New York and The Mercies will be perfect for you.
Alternatively, there are contemporary romances like The Ex Hex or works of crime fiction such as The Change for you to choose from.
YA books about witches include the popular Beautiful Creatures, while Roald Dahl’s The Witches is perfect for younger children.
Ronald Hutton’s The Witch and Stacy Schiff’s The Witches are two of the most popular factual books about witches.
Use the buyer’s guide in this article to choose your next witch-themed read today and add some more magic to your bookshelves!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Book Genres Feature Witches?
You can find books about witches in almost every genre of fiction. Witches may typically be associated with genres such as horror and fantasy, but you don’t have to stick to these niches.
Witches also feature in historical fiction, magical realism, mystery, and Gothic novels.
What Is The Best Book About The Salem Witch Trials?
A lot of people develop an interest in reading about witches after learning about the Salem witch trials.
If you’re looking for historical facts and theories about the Salem witch trials, you should read some of the nonfiction books I’ve recommended here, such as The Witches by Stacy Schiff, or A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker.
Alternatively, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is based on the witch trials in Salem, but be aware that this is still a work of fiction, so not everything is historically accurate.
Are Books About Witches Suitable For Children?
Not all books about witches will be suitable for children, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t child-friendly books about witches.
The Witches by Roald Dahl is a great example of a book about witches for children.
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