If you liked Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

“Why are there no more magicians in England?”

In the Napoleonic era one man asks the question. Just why are there no more magicians in England? Yes, there are those who study magic, but there are no more practical magicians left. This at a time when the French emperor is trampling all over Europe. Thus far, England has been unsuccessful in defeating the French and the heads of state are becoming desperate.

Out of the shadows comes a man named Mr. Norrell. He is a magician and insists he is capable of doing magic in the modern world. As proof, he makes York Cathedral come to life. Cementing his reputation, he heads to London to convince more important people of his talent.

In the meantime, a foppish Mr Strange inherits his father’s estate, but in order to win his sweetheart’s hand in marriage, he must prove himself worthy. In search of a gainful occupation, he stumbles upon magic. It turns out he has a natural talent for it. Mr. Norrell recognizes he should keep Strange close and teach him properly.

Meanwhile, ancient magic is awoken and begins to creep into the modern world. All the supernatural world awaits the return of the Raven King.

Q   READ THE REST OF MY REVIEW   T

… Then mark your calendars for the release of The Witches of New York

from the publisher: “New York in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Determined to learn the truth about the world, its residents enthusiastically engage in both scientific experimentation and spiritualist pursuits. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women—some possessed of true intuitive powers, and some gifted with the art of performance—find work as mediums.

Enter Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, they provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies, who speak the right words and ask the right questions. But the profile of Tea and Sympathy is about to change with the fortuitous arrival of Beatrice Dunn.

When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her.”


I’m only about halfway through The Witches of New York, but I was immediately struck by the similar tone as Strange and Norrell. Both books explore the idea that magic exists but in the very real world. This is not a fantastical realm. Strange and Norrell deal with the war against Napoleon. These witches are trying to maintain a living in an unforgiving New York City at the end of the 19th century. And like Strange and Norrell, they are trying to learn as much as they can about the “rules” of magic and write them down for future generations.

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