An inventive and fantastical reimagining of Anne of Green Gables—with magic and witches!—that explores found family, loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination, from the acclaimed author of The Language of Ghosts and The School Between Winter and Fairyland.
Grace has never been good at anything except magic—not that anyone believes her. While other children are adopted from the orphanage, nobody wants Grace. So she decides to make a home for herself by running away and offering herself as an apprentice to the witch in the nearby woods. After all, who better to teach Grace to use her magic? Surely the witch can’t be that bad.
But the witch is that bad—she steals souls for spells and gobbles up hearts. So Grace offers a deal: If she can learn all 100½ spells in the witch’s grimoire, the witch will make Grace her apprentice. But if Grace fails, the witch can take her magic. The witch agrees, and soon an unexpected bond develops between them. But the spells are much harder than Grace expected, and when a monster from the witch’s past threatens the home Grace has built, she may have to sacrifice more than her magic to save it.
Inspired by Anne of Green Gables, this is a magical story of found family, loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination.
I thought this book was so much fun! I would have absolutely loved it as a kid – I loved it even as an adult!
So the big question everyone wants to know the answer to…how much of it is an Anne of Green Gables story? In my opinion, the similarities are mostly very broad ones. Grace is an orphan, her first adoption didn’t work out, and the character Grace is very inspired by the character of Anne. Grace is enthusiastic, curious, is prone to flights of fancy and romanticism, has a very dear and close friend, and there are two direct incidents that were definitely directly out of Anne of Green Gables but with a twist to make it work with this book.
There was magic, and witches, fairy princes, and a quest that Grace had to fulfill. The witch was not nice, she was definitely an evil witch (at least in the beginning) but the book takes a turn, and Grace and the witch become a family of sorts, so it is also a book of found family, which I love.
By far though one of my favorite characters is Windweaver, Grace’s familiar and pet crow. She found him as a baby and nursed him to health, and Windweaver is arrogant, yet loyal and loving with Grace. He also adores poetry, but only poetry about birds.
The ending felt maybe a bit rushed but it was also emotional, and moving. I was actually pretty upset over something that happens in the end but like Grace I understood it was the right thing.
Overall, this is a fantastic book that is like Hansel and Gretel meets Anne of Green Gables, yet strong enough to not simply be a retelling. Grace and the witch, Windweaver and Sareena, all are wonderful characters in their own right and stand on their own against these famous backdrops and comparisons. I do think this book might be scary for sensitive young readers, who are not fans of scary stories. While most of the book is not scary there are references to children being cooked in the oven, so be mindful of that if there is a child in your life who would not react well to those parts.