Monday, February 10, 2020

5 Witchy Books for Winter

witch, books, reading, winter, witchy, witchy reads, occult

I love a lot. I think I have made that pretty obvious on the blog over the years. Books are one of the best ways to learn and grow, apart from actually doing what it is you are learning about, of course. Reading is also an excellent escape, one that I find myself turning too more often lately as the winter blues continue to set in. I've always been a devoted, passionate reader. Well, that's a lie. When I was in elementary school I struggled with reading and reading comprehension, but no one really knew why. I was a brilliant kid and extremely creative, but I struggled with reading. It wasn't until I had a teacher sit down with me and teach me a "new" way to read and look at the world of books that it finally clicked. From that point on I devoured as many books as I could. Every Christmas I had several books on my wish list. I went to Barnes and Noble and Borders religiously. I checked out books from the library and otherwise surrounded myself with all the books I could get my hands on. Not surprisingly, I surrounded myself with folklore and fantasy books. They were a great escape and the closest I could get at the time to reading about things I experienced as a child. It wasn't until high school that I finally started purchasing New Age books, and it wasn't until my senior year that an art teacher, of all people, realized I had a learning disability that hindered my ability to read and understand language. Like I said, I was brilliant, later labeled as gifted, and was able to compensate for my learning disability my entire life. But I digress. The point I am trying to make is that books are amazing and you don't have to be a good reader to enjoy a good story.

I've been mulling this post over for quite some time and decided today is the perfect time to discuss a couple of my favorite witchy books and the tea I like to read with them. Again, I love tea about as much as I love books, if not more. Because I love books so much, I broke the post down into seasons. Expect to see a Spring/Summer list in May and a Fall list in September. There are just so many books that I couldn't pick just a few.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

1. The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston- Most people know Paula Brackston for her book The Witch's Daughter, which is probably one of my least favorite of hers. However, I adore The Silver Witch. Both female leads are strong, independent women who don't need a man to come along and save them. I think this is part of the reason I loved the book so much. Brackston is a gifted writer and always tells a beautiful tale, especially the parts that take place throughout history. In The Silver Witch, Brackston tells the tales of two women: Tilda, a modern-day artist who recently lost her husband, and Seren, a witch and shaman who lived during Celtic times. Their fates are intertwined and together they must face down a great evil. Seren is by far my favorite witch in all of Brackston's books. She is strong, independent, elegant, and full of love and surprises. She is such a fierce character, one I identify with greatly. Being a shaman, Seren is also able to communicate with the beyond to receive messages and I loved how Brackston portrays her character in this book.

I suggest sipping a strong Darjeeling tea, which is also suggested on page 39, while enjoying the book cuddled up in a nice, fluffy blanket.

2. The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston- Yeah, another Brackston book, but I really enjoy her writing style. This story, aptly named, follows a young witch named Morgana. Unlike everyone else in town, Morgana does not speak and is sent off to wed a local herder she barely knows. However, some force is dead set on destroying Morgana's life and she must work to lift the curse threatening her new life. While the lead woman of this book is sometimes frustrating at times, I found the romance beautifully enchanting. I also loved how Brackston incorporated local Welsh myths of wishing wells into this story.

I suggest drinking Winter White Earl Grey by Harney & Sons with a splash of milk and sugar while reading this lovely tale. I'm not really sure why, but London Fog always reminds me of the moors and warms my soul on cold winter nights.

3. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab- I recently finished this book (like within the first 3 days of 2020 starting), and was instantly in love with the characters. The Near Witch tells the tale of the small town of Near where the inhabitants tell the tale of the Near Witch singing in the wind. When a stranger shows up in town and children begin to go missing, the townsfolk blame the newcomer while Lexi, a young girl who lives with her mother and sister on the edge of town, suspects the Near Witch may be behind it. Lexi is a headstrong tomboy who isn't afraid to get a little muddy to save her little sister's life. She teams up with the ashy newcomer, Cole, to find the children and clear Cole's name.

I suggest an earthy, smoky tea such as Black Cask Bourbon by Harney & Sons. I suggest this because of Cole's smoky past and because bourbon reminds me of windy moors. This tea is full-bodied and sure to warm you up.

4. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson- The Snow Queen is a Danish fairy tale from 1844 and has been the inspiration for many a tale since then. In fact, Disney's Frozen is one such take on this tale. This story tells the tale of Kai and Gerda, two children who live next door to each other in a small town. They grow up hearing the tales of the Snow Queen and one winter the queen whisks Kai away. The town believes Kai dead, but Gerda, determined to get to the bottom of his disappearance, sets off to find him. Its a beautiful story and available for free online.

I suggest pairing this tale with a peppermint tea. Peppermint always gives me the "chills" and goes well with this story.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis- Yeah...the man was a Christian and the whole series is about it, but that doesn't mean we can't love it all the same. In my opinion, this is a pretty darn pagan book! If it's not up your alley, try His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman which was written in response to C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and it about "killing God." Either way, both books are full of snow-filled adventures that are great for both young and old. I adore both stories and if reading them isn't in the cards this winter, the movies are fantastic as well. His Dark Materials was also recently turned into an HBO series, with The Golden Compass premiering as season 1. Be prepared though. The TV show is not for young children.

I suggest pairing this book with Harney & Son's Chocolate Peppermint tea. Chocolate and peppermint always remind me of Yule and winter and magic and goes well with both of the stories listed above. And if tea isn't your thing, a warm cup of hot chocolate is just as magical!

witch, books, reading, winter, witchy, witchy reads, occult

And there you have it, 5 witchy books for winter that are sure to get you through these final chilling weeks. Is there a witchy book you enjoy reading in the winter? Have a tea you think pairs well with one these books? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Great lists, thanks Willow! :) I've read a few of Paula Brackston's books, including those you mentioned. I think The Winter Witch was the first one I read, and one of my favourites. I did like The Witch's Daughter and the sequel. Also The Midnight Witch but maybe not as much. I've never heard of The Near Witch, but it sounds good. Will add that to my "To Read" list!

    The Snow Queen used to scare me as a child, I think because of the devil and Kai getting glass in his eye that made everything look weird! As an adult I like the film with Bridget Fonda though. Don't think I've ever read the full version, will search for it online. :) I like the Narnia series, I used to have the whole set of books as child. I also like the old BBC TV series and the films. My favourite (in all formats) is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

    The Bear and the Nightingale (1st in the series by Katherine Arden) is a good one to read in winter. :)


    1. The Midnight Witch will be on my Fall reading list! Necromancy screams Samhain, am I right? I think you'll enjoy The Near Witch. I read it in 3 days along with the short story. I bought the "deluxe" edition last year when our local Books-a-Million closed and I am glad I did. It has a beautiful dust jacket and a ribbon book marker. It also includes the short story about Cole.

      The Snow Queen definitely has some scary moments. The link I provided will take you to a free online copy of the book if you are interested in rereading it.

      The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is my favorite from the series in all formats as well. I have the entire set in one book, but it didn't feel like it belong in my white and pink pictures. Its black and gold and massive. Too overpowering for a light, wintery post.

      I'll look into The Bear and the Nightingale. I've never heard of it! Thank you for the suggestion!

    2. Yes, The Midnight Witch fits Samhain! Oh yes, thanks I'll have a read of The Snow Queen. You're welcome, hope you enjoy The Bear and the Nightingale if you read it! :)

  2. This is a wonderful idea for a post. Books and tea are also two of my favourite things, and I always love checking out new suggestions.

    1. Right?! I think I could spend the rest of my life living on just books and tea.

  3. Fantastic list! I beamed over the inclusion of the wonderful classic that is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I fondly remember reading that for the first time in grade school and then retelling it to my sister (who is six years my junior) as we lay in bed at night. She was enthralled and so the "closet story" as she adorably called it then was repeated for weeks, if not months to come.

    ♥ Autumn

    1. That's wonderful! Its a beautiful story and I love the "deep" magic in the tale. My high school put on the play right before the movie came out and I adored the play so much more than the movie.


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