Thursday, September 3, 2020

Year of the Witching Blog Tour

TITLE: The Year of the Witching
AUTHOR: Alexis Henderson
PUBLISHER: Bantam Press
PUBLISHING DATE: July 23, 2020

FROM GOODREADS: The Handmaid's Tale for a new generation . . .

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle Moore's very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel - a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

MY THOUGHTS:  I've been anxious to read this debut author and am glad to say I finally have.  The Year of the Witching is an outstanding debut and what initially started as a slow-burn historical fiction/horror novel gave way to an explosive conclusion

Immanuelle lives with her grandparents in Bethel, a small stoic community founded in religion and overseen by The Prophet.  However, Immanuelle is the product of an alleged with and a father who was burned at the stake for having a relationship with her mother.  One day Immanuelle ventures into the Darkwood, the area surrounding Bethel.  There she is visited by 4 powerful witches and unbeknownst to her, triggers a plague upon her community.  It's left up to Immanuelle and the Prophet's son, Ezra, to try to save the community but can they do so before they are both sentenced to burn?

I really loved the historical element of this novel and while I would sat it might be a stretch to call it horror, it definitely had all the creepiness I craved.  I basically will give anything featuring witches a go and this book definitely had historical and folklore elements galore.  In fact, it's kind of a perfect read for the spooky season.  I immediately felt a connection to Immanuelle and was completely invested in her outcome.  She had some touch decisions to make throughout the book and it was interesting to see what choices she made.  I also loved her relationship with Ezra.  Although there were some romantic undertones, it was mainly one of friendship and unity.  

This book is very slow paced and it took me about 75 pages to get into the groove.  Basically that's the only issue I had.  Henderson is definitely an author I will be watching in the future.


Alexis Henderson is a speculative fiction writer with a penchant for dark fantasy, witchcraft, and cosmic horror. She grew up in one of America’s most haunted cities, Savannah, Georgia, which instilled in her a life-long love of ghost stories. When she doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, you can find her painting or watching horror movies with her feline familiar. Currently, Alexis resides in the sun-soaked marshland of Charleston, South Carolina.


  1. This sounds really good other than the slower beginning, but glad it turned out well!

  2. I really enjoyed this too. I'm curious to see what she writes next!

  3. I really wanted to request this - I can't resist books with witches - but I just had too many books and so even though I wanted to be really greedy my good idea won the day - and now I'm wishing the bad side had done better.
    Lynn :D

  4. I considered this because I also love witches but I've had a lot of women oppressed lately and I don' read horror. Fantastic review. I might be able to read it on audio.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  5. Oooh, I don't think I knew this was a debut!

  6. Thanks so much for the blog tour support xx

  7. Gah, this sounds atmospherically creepy!! the pacing would drive me nuts though, I msut admit. Obviously though it had enough goodness to keep you going!