Date Started: Apr. 20th, 2023
Date Stopped: Apr. 27th, 2023
I'd like to start by listing the things I enjoyed about this book, because there were a few things that held out promise for me. For one, I enjoyed the parallels the author draws between the three women at the beginning of the book. even though they are all living in different times (1600s, 1950s, modern day), each is shown to be trapped in their own version of a cage. Altha's current cage is quite literal, Violet is trapped in a societal/ patriarchal confinement, and Kate is trapped by an abusive partner.
I also enjoyed how the author split the three perspectives not only in what POV she wrote them in (1st for Altha and 3rd for Violet + Kate), but also by the tense in which each was written. I have read books in the past where the tense an POV were the same across all the characters and that sometimes made it difficult to separate each perspective a bit.
Finally, I enjoyed that each of the women had their own talisman of sorts that is referenced again and again and weaves its ways through the story and timelines.
Now on to the parts I didn't enjoy and why I inevitably DNF'd this book.
The largest reason I put these stories down was because of the lack of trigger warnings. When I read the story blurb, there was little indication (outside of Kate having an abusive partner) that so much violence was going to be witnessed against these women. Even with regards to Kate, the blurb felt much more lofty than what she divulges within her own storyline. Things are not brushed over (which I understand -- trauma is not something that gets easily swept under the rug in real life) and are gone into heavy detail, which is fine if you are OK with reading that sort of thing AND if there is ample warning ahead of time. For Kate, I had no warning aside from knowing she had an abusive partner from the very brief blurb mention and felt affronted by the things she described her partner having done to her.
I then read a few reviews and found out that so much more happens to the other characters, but there is no warning anywhere on the book that suggests such violence would occur. Seeing as I have trouble reading stories about women and children who are violated, this book wouldn't have been one for me to purchase had I known all of these issues going in. I stopped reading shortly after one of the main characters is
raped and the act is described in detail from her perspective. It was just too much to handle as a survivor of childhood sexual assault myself.
Outside of the issues with trigger warnings, I also found that I could kind of guess as to the ending of each of the stories as well as what was happening next. And personally, I have come to realize that I don't much enjoy the splitting of multiple timelines into one narrative. I prefer stories that really follow a main character's journey through a longer period of time. Honestly, Altha's story was the most intriguing for me and I found myself wanting to know more about her and her mother's life prior to the trial the narrative opens up on. I could have read an entire book revolving around that and would have loved it!
Finally, although this book depicts witches and magic, I felt that both were somewhat lacking. After getting halfway through the narrative, there was still this very slow trickle of information regarding the characters uncanny connection with the natural world and what that meant for them. It felt very frustrating.