Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft

Editors: Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe

Published: August 28, 2018

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Where I picked up my book: Free from publisher (THANK YOU)

Key Words: witches and witchcraft, feminism, LGBTQ+, YA fantasy

My Rating: 5 stars

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Synopsis (via Goodreads):

A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

My Thoughts:

Gay witches. Enough said. Read the book. Okay…maybe I have a little bit more to say. But really, you might not need any more than that. If you find yourself wanting a bit more…read on 😉

I absolutely loved this book! A group of women writers decided to get together and write a little bit of magic (pun intended) with this one and it’s truly amazing! It’s a YA collection of short stories (although if you’re not usually into YA, do not be turned off at all. It’s nothing like typical YA that I have read. Without a doubt, it’s for readers of all ages) that covers stories about magic, witches, feminism, diversity, empowerment, sexuality, diversity, queerness and so much more. What?! I know…run to your local Indie and pick it up today!

Although I loved all of the stories, my favorite one, by far, was Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May. Ohhh it was so good, that I cried throughout the reading and immediately re-read it the second I finished. It was powerful, heartfelt, relatable, and touched something in me that reminded me of how much I love my life and how proud I feel for being who I am despite what other people may think. It was one of those sort of pieces. In fact, so many of the stories touched me personally.

As a lesbian, I sometimes feel a little witchiness in me and society, my family, the church, politicians, or anyone else be damned…I will thrive. So when I watch, read, or hear anything about people being on the outskirts of the ‘norm’ of society and feeling shunned for it, my guard immediately goes up and I go into defense mode. Be it witches, cultures from other parts of the world, people of color, LGBTQ+, women, people with disabilities, etc. I become protective, ready to strap on my marching boots and pull those people in a little bit tighter around me, so we can shield each other and stand up for one another as a good army should. That’s exactly the same feeling I got when reading this collection. I felt myself wanting to scream from the rooftops…OKAY PEOPLE, LET’S GET INTO FORMATION. That doesn’t happen often when I’m reading a book, but when it does…I get the chills because I know I’m reading something special.

Overall, this is one of the best short story collections that I have read and I highly suggest grabbing yourself a copy! I couldn’t put it down. It’s out now and would make a perfect gift for the witch, women, gay or feminist in your life…or for the person living beside one 🙂

Grab your copy HERE

bookishfolk…read instead.

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