Immanuelle Moore knows she must never go into the Dark Woods. Lilith and her coven of witches dwell there, doing terrible things to any good Bethel citizen who wanders in. But her family’s prize ram just ran off, and they simply can’t afford to lose him. She emerges, ramless, with the journal of her dead, blasphemous mother and the sinking feeling that Bethel’s leader, the Prophet, is not as virtuous and strong as he says he is.
When plagues descend upon the town and the Prophet scrambles to find a witch to blame, Immanuelle knows she is the only one who can put things right and save Bethel, with a little help from the Prophet’s son Ezra.
I don’t typically looove historical-based novels. I’m mostly interested in the post-Industrial-Revolution aesthetic and it takes just the right hook to get me to pick up a book described as “historical fantasy.”
Horror and witches will normally do it.
I liked the dread soaking into every word, and I loved my darling Immanuelle. I’m definitely the kind of person who would turn my back on a town that treated me as badly as Bethel treats her, but I gravitate towards those types of characters and friends in real life. Someone needs to be the cynic and I am usually that cynic! It doesn’t work if everyone is a cynic, someone must be an idealist.
I will say I would have loved a much different ending. I liked this ending just fine, but there’s something I love about a girl going completely feral when confronted with the flaws of her society and that isn’t this book. Also I hadn’t realized there was a romance aspect, and I might not have picked it up if I had known. But there were definitely a few moments that I didn’t realize were fantasies I had, but definitely are now. For example, chaste kisses in an abandoned library the night before we’re tried for witchcraft?? Are you kidding me?? Incredible!!