Toil and Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft

**A special thank you to Harlequin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book! The following review is 100% my OWN thoughts and opinions!**

Title: Toil and Trouble: 15 tales of Women and Witchcraft

Author: various, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release date: August 28th, 2018

Genre: fantasy, urban fantasy, teen, new adult

Page count: 304

My rating:

Goodreads synopsis: A young adult fiction anthology of 15 stories featuring contemporary, historical, and futuristic stories featuring witchy heroines who are diverse in race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

My thoughts: This was my first ever book of short stories I’ve read! I highly enjoyed it and it is the perfect book to read in the days leading up to Halloween!

There is a story in here for everyone! There’s urban fantasies, historical fiction, high fantasy, and even a few LGBTQ+ stories which felt inclusive and fresh!

I particularly enjoyed the historical fiction stories. Two of my favorites are: Afterbirth and The Legend of Stone Mary. The Legend of Stone Mary is technically an urban fantasy but it flashes back to tell a story that takes place during the Civil War so it was a healthy balance of both urban and historical fiction.

I don’t really have anything negative to report on this book! It was fun, fast-paced, and very compelling. I really couldn’t put it down!

If you are looking for a spooky Halloween read this fall, pour yourself a cup of hot apple cider, break into your kiddos Halloween candies, and dive headfirst into the world of women and witchcraft!

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