Conjure Women

Conjure Women

Author:

Hardcover, Pages: 416

Genres: Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

Reads: 53

Downloads: 3147

Rating: Rated: 1729 timesRate It

Conjure Women
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Book Summary

A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing--and for the conjuring of curses--are at the heart of this dazzling first novel

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mothers footsteps as a midwife; and their masters daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Reader Reviews
  •    Yotilar Bellamee
    2020
    Conjure Women, Afia Atakora’s exquisite debut novel, is one of the most anticipated reads of 2020, and I must say that it didn't disappoint. Set before, during and after the American Civil War the story follows the intertwining lives of three multigenerational women working on a plantation in the Deep South. May Belle is a self-proclaimed healer, midwife and known as the local ’conjure’ woman who the community turns to help with many problems. Rue is her daughter and also a healer and wishes to follow in her beloved mother's footsteps but she isn't entirely convinced she possesses the same ’gifts’ as her mother. Varina is the daughter of the proprietor of the plantation, Marse Charles. We see the difference in the way the women are treated due to the colour of their skin and it makes for sobering but important reading. It discusses the impact of slavery and the struggle to build a life after emancipation takes place.

    This is very much a character-driven novel and from the first few pages, the writing pulls you in as the poetic prose is difficult to resist. It slips seamlessly between different time periods and the slow burn nature of the story allows the author ample time to develop the cast of characters and each has a personality of their own. All three main characters are strong interesting women and are vividly portrayed. What is absolutely clear is that Atakora has extensively researched the topic of enslavement in modern America and infuses this fictional novel with the very real trials and tribulations of black slaves. This is a sad, melancholy but all too necessary and important book and it quickly becomes compulsive and mesmerising. Beautifully imagined, rich and brilliant, this is a story that will stay with me long after its completion. Many thanks to Fourth Estate for an ARC.
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