Witches are timeless in fiction, but there may be no better time to curl up with books about witches than the spooky fall season. As the temperature begins to drop and the days begin to wane, stories about women who possess mysterious powers will definitely light enough of a fire to keep you warm at night — and, admittedly, some of these tales might leave your heart pounding from delight rather than outright fear.
I've rounded up some of the best witchy books to get you in the mood for autumn. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's hopefully wide-ranging enough to help you find something to suit your tastes, regardless of which witch you are deep inside.
The Witch of Willow Hall - Hester Fox
This upcoming page-turner is already being hailed as a perfect blend of the Gothic novel paired with a dark family history that will keep you engrossed to the very last word. Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, Lydia Montrose and her family have left Boston for their mysterious new estate, Willow Hall, after rumors begin to swirl about one of her sisters. But Lydia's deep connection to an ancient power may be stronger than she even knows. The Witch of Willow Hall, which is Fox's first novel, will be released on October 2.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare
This book is a witchy young adult classic and with good reason. Many of the readers who loved it as children (myself included) are finding new things to love about the story of Kit Tyler, who sells off her grandfather's home in Barbados after his death and moves to live in Connecticut, where her independent nature chafes against the strict Puritan community she inhabits. When Kit begins to associate with an old Quaker woman known locally as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, she never anticipates that she herself will be accused of witchcraft.
Three Sisters Island Trilogy - Nora Roberts
Fans of classic witch-themed rom-coms like Practical Magic will enjoy this trilogy from longtime romance author Nora Roberts, about a group of three women who come to inhabit Three Sisters Island and realize they each possess a unique set of abilities — and that these powers are stronger when they're together rather than apart. The first book, Dance Upon the Air, follows the story of a woman on the run from her abusive husband, who finds the power in herself to not only break the spell of her nightmares but to achieve her own independence with the help of some new friends, Ripley and Mia (whose stories feature in the next two books).
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Novik is widely known for her Temeraire books. Her standalone high fantasy novel Uprooted, however, tells a powerful coming-of-age story all its own, about stories, magic, female friendship, and finding your place in this world. When lead character Agnieszka is chosen to by the mysterious Dragon in service for his protection over her village, she never expects that her new role will unlock her own abilities. It's loosely rooted in (no pun intended) classic fairytales but unique enough to tell its own story, and Agnieszka's journey will undoubtedly cast a spell.
Curse Workers Trilogy - Holly Black
A Mafia-infused take on magic and romance is the backdrop for author Holly Black's Curse Workers trilogy, about those who possess the ability to change someone's emotions, memories, or luck simply with the touch of a hand. Cassel Sharpe has grown up within a powerful family made up of con artists and hustlers, but he harbors a secret of his own: he's convinced he killed his own best friend, Lila, years ago. When Cassel begins to have dreams about a white cat, he wonders if he can even trust his own memory — or the powers that exist within his own family.
All Souls Trilogy - Deborah Harkness
Harkness' wildly successful All Souls Universe contains a rich world full of not just witches, but vampires and all sorts of magical creatures. The first book, A Discovery of Witches, was published back in 2011 and has just been adapted for television (Shudder has acquired the streaming rights to the series in the US after an initial UK airing on Sky). The sweeping romance between witch Diana and vampire Matthew paired with the richness and musty book smell only found in ancient libraries make this a must-read.
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor
Okorafor (who was recently announced as the new author on a comic book featuring FANGRRLS' favorite Disney princess, Shuri) writes the traditional witchy growing-up story infused in a Nigerian setting rich with magic. Sunny, a 12-year-old girl, stands out as a newcomer in her parents' homeland for several reasons: she's albino, she's a soccer prodigy, and she's teased for having grown up in America first. But Sunny also holds unexpected ties to the spirit world, and when her powers begin to activate she realizes that the fate of her world and those she holds dear may be in danger — and she's going to need to embrace what makes her unique in order to save everything.
The Caster Chronicles - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
If you prefer your witches with some Southern influence, Garcia and Stohl's Caster Chronicles series (which kicks off with 2009's Beautiful Creatures, a book that launched a film adaptation starring a pre-Solo Alden Ehrenreich) is worth checking out this autumn. In the small town of Gatlin, Lena Duchannes stands out, and local boy Ethan Wate is determined to get closer to her at any cost — even if it means uncovering her and her family's deepest secrets.
Circe - Madeline Miller
A longstanding character of Greek myth and legend finally earns her own story in Madeline Miller's tale, simply named Circe. While most readers probably already know her as the enchantress from Homer's Odyssey who turned Odysseus' men into pigs and kept him captive on her island for one year, Miller's book gives Circe a phenomenal origin story that manages to come across as both subversive and seminal, as the witch herself wrestles with questions of immortality, found versus inherited family, and how to survive in a world literally ruled by gods.