Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, five curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month for $14.99/month. You can also add up to two additional books for only $9.99 each. (This box was named one of the best subscriptions for avid readers in the 2023 Subscription Box Awards.)
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My BOTM Pick for March: WEYWARD by Emilia Hart — Hard Cover Retail Value $27.99
Book Summary from Amazon:
2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.
1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.
1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family's grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives––and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.
Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's Weywardis an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.
Weyward is a beautifully written book that seamlessly blends three different women's lives into one connected story of love, abuse, survival, guilt, and magic. Three different women, during three different eras are fighting to save themselves. All three, however, are related to a powerful line of magical women who have a gift with the natural world. As all of them stand up for themselves and fight for their lives, they begin to realize what they are capable of and just how powerful they can be.
We see Altha as a prisoner, locked up, and in a dire situation. She is fighting for her life in a witch trial, despite having saved many of the people in her village that are trying to condemn her. It can be gut-wrenching to read at times, but her composure throughout the trial and the story of her life becomes a tale of both struggle and survival.
Violet on the other hand was made to be a prisoner in her own home. Not allowed to leave the property, she was woefully immature at the age of 16. However, that all changed when her cousin Frederik came to visit and changed her life forever. Saying anything more would ruin the book, but I admired the decision she chose despite the difficulties she knew she would face because of it.
Kate as well fought for a life of choice and to be free. Escaping from an abusive husband and starting life completely new is something not many people are able to do. It takes guts to stand up to your biggest fears and face them head on. Kate did this while also rekindling her relationship with her mom and starting a family of her own.
This was, without a doubt, my favorite book to date from Book of the Month Club. I found myself thinking about the lives of these three women long after I had put the book down. I thought about how if had I been born in a different time or a different place, I very well could have been in a similar situation such as theirs. I thought about whether or not I would have the courage to do what all three did when danger and fear stood in front of them. Most of all I thought about how despite their extraordinary abilities and great knowledge of the natural world, they were looked down upon, as if they were something that needed to be reigned in and controlled.
Altha in particular made me think the most. Perhaps its because she was born into a totally different world than I was, but the thought of a woman having to face trial because a couple of men declared her a witch angered me more than I thought possible from a book. I know witch trials were a very real thing of the past, but reading about what happened to Altha (and to others who faced similar fates), really put into perspective how far women have come in today's world (and in some cases still have to go).
The entire book started and ended with Altha as well. In fact, she was the only one of the three women who was written in the first person. Even though the Weyward women had a long history, it is because of Altha that Violet and Kate's lives are saved many generations later.
The magical realism in the book was also very well done and woven into the plot effortlessly. The book could have been written without this aspect, but I feel like the addition of it was what turned the book from a good one into a great one. Overall, I would highly, highly recommend this book!
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
Yes! When is receiving a new book in the mail not worth it!? I love that BOTM Club makes it easy to find great new books. You never know if you are going to get a best-selling author or an up-and-coming one. But, you know that they will always be great choices. This month, I had a hard time deciding between three different choices, but I could not be happier with my choice of Weyward.
BOTM Club books range from $12.50-$16.99 depending on your chosen subscription.
The Cost: $9.99 + free shipping
Value Breakdown: This box costs $9.99, but the book I chose retails for $29, which was a discount of about $19 for me. (Remember...this is first month only).
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To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this book if you sign up today? Yes! But you will need to order it as an add-on. This book came late due to a large amount of BOTM subscribers requesting it, so it won't be available for your pick by the time this review comes out.
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