The Once and Future Witches


By Alix E. Harrow

Formats and Prices




$12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 13, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

"A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women. The characters live, bleed, and roar. "―Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel • Named One of the Best Books of the Year by NPR Books • Barnes and Noble • BookPage

In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in this powerful novel of magic, family, and the suffragette movement. 

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters―James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna―join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote―and perhaps not even to live―the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

An homage to the indomitable power and persistence of women, The Once and Future Witches reimagines stories of revolution, motherhood, and women's suffrage—the lost ways are calling.

Praise for The Once and Future Witches:

"A glorious escape into a world where witchcraft has dwindled to a memory of women's magic, and three wild, sundered sisters hold the key to bring it back…A tale that will sweep you away."―Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author 

"This book is an amazing bit of spellcraft and resistance so needed in our times, and a reminder that secret words and ways can never be truly and properly lost, as long as there are tongues to speak them and ears to listen."―P. Djèlí Clark, author The Black God's Drum

For more from Alix E. Harrow, check out The Ten Thousand Doors of January.


An Introduction

There’s no such thing as witches, but there used to be.

It used to be the air was so thick with magic you could taste it on your tongue like ash. Witches lurked in every tangled wood and waited at every midnight-crossroad with sharp-toothed smiles. They conversed with dragons on lonely mountaintops and rode rowan-wood brooms across full moons; they charmed the stars to dance beside them on the solstice and rode to battle with familiars at their heels. It used to be witches were wild as crows and fearless as foxes, because magic blazed bright and the night was theirs.

But then came the plague and the purges. The dragons were slain and the witches were burned and the night belonged to men with torches and crosses.

Witching isn’t all gone, of course. My grandmother, Mama Mags, says they can’t ever kill magic because it beats like a great red heartbeat on the other side of everything, that if you close your eyes you can feel it thrumming beneath the soles of your feet, thumpthumpthump. It’s just a lot better-behaved than it used to be.

Most respectable folk can’t even light a candle with witching, these days, but us poor folk still dabble here and there. Witch-blood runs thick in the sewers, the saying goes. Back home every mama teaches her daughters a few little charms to keep the soup-pot from boiling over or make the peonies bloom out of season. Every daddy teaches his sons how to spell ax-handles against breaking and rooftops against leaking.

Our daddy never taught us shit, except what a fox teaches chickens—how to run, how to tremble, how to outlive the bastard—and our mama died before she could teach us much of anything. But we had Mama Mags, our mother’s mother, and she didn’t fool around with soup-pots and flowers.

The preacher back home says it was God’s will that purged the witches from the world. He says women are sinful by nature and that magic in their hands turns naturally to rot and ruin, like the first witch Eve who poisoned the Garden and doomed mankind, like her daughters’ daughters who poisoned the world with the plague. He says the purges purified the earth and shepherded us into the modern era of Gatling guns and steamboats, and the Indians and Africans ought to be thanking us on their knees for freeing them from their own savage magics.

Mama Mags said that was horseshit, and that wickedness was like beauty: in the eye of the beholder. She said proper witching is just a conversation with that red heartbeat, which only ever takes three things: the will to listen to it, the words to speak with it, and the way to let it into the world. The will, the words, and the way.

She taught us everything important comes in threes: little pigs, billy goats gruff, chances to guess unguessable names. Sisters.

There were three of us Eastwood sisters, me and Agnes and Bella, so maybe they’ll tell our story like a witch-tale. Once upon a time there were three sisters. Mags would like that, I think—she always said nobody paid enough attention to witch-tales and whatnot, the stories grannies tell their babies, the secret rhymes children chant among themselves, the songs women sing as they work.

Or maybe they won’t tell our story at all, because it isn’t finished yet. Maybe we’re just the very beginning, and all the fuss and mess we made was nothing but the first strike of the flint, the first shower of sparks.

There’s still no such thing as witches.

But there will be.

A tangled web she weaves

When she wishes to deceive.

A spell to distract and dismay, requiring cobweb gathered on the new moon & a pricked finger

Once upon a time there were three sisters.

James Juniper Eastwood was the youngest, with hair as ragged and black as crow feathers. She was the wildest of the three. The canny one, the feral one, the one with torn skirts and scraped knees and a green glitter in her eyes, like summer-light through leaves. She knew where the whip-poor-wills nested and the foxes denned; she could find her way home at midnight on the new moon.

But on the spring equinox of 1893, James Juniper is lost.

She limps off the train with her legs still humming from the rattle and clack of the journey, leaning heavy on her red-cedar staff, and doesn’t know which way to turn. Her plan only had two steps—step one, run, and step two, keep running—and now she’s two hundred miles from home with nothing but loose change and witch-ways in her pockets and no place to go.

She sways on the platform, buffeted and jostled by folk who have plenty of someplaces to go. Steam hisses and swirls from the engine, curling catlike around her skirts. Posters and ads flutter on the wall. One of them is a list of New Salem city ordinances and the associated fines for littering, profanity, debauchery, indecency, and vagrancy. One of them shows an irritable-looking Lady Liberty with her fist raised into the air and invites ALL LADIES WHO TIRE OF TYRANNY to attend the New Salem Women’s Association rally in St. George’s Square at six o’clock on the equinox.

One of them shows Juniper’s own face in blurred black and white above the words MISS JAMES JUNIPER EASTWOOD. SEVENTEEN YEARS OF AGE, WANTED FOR MURDER & SUSPECTED WITCHCRAFT.

Hell. They must have found him. She’d thought burning the house would muddy things a little more.

Juniper meets her own eyes on the poster and pulls her cloak’s hood a little higher.

Boots ring dully on the platform: a man in a neat black uniform strolls toward her, baton slap-slapping in his palm, eyes narrowed.

Juniper gives him her best wide-eyed smile, hand sweating on her staff. “Morning, mister. I’m headed to…” She needs a purpose, a somewhere-to-be. Her eyes flick to the irritable Lady Liberty poster. “St. George’s Square. Could you tell me how to get there?” She squeezes her accent for every country cent it’s worth, pooling her vowels like spilled honey.

The officer looks her up and down: hacked-off hair scraping against her jaw, dirt-seamed knuckles, muddy boots. He grunts a mean laugh. “Saints save us, even the hicks want the vote.”

Juniper’s never thought much about voting or suffrage or women’s rights, but his tone makes her chin jerk up. “That a crime?”

It’s only after the words come whipping out of her mouth that Juniper reflects on how unwise it is to antagonize an officer of the law. Particularly when there is a poster with your face on it directly behind the officer’s head.

That temper will get you burnt at the damn stake, Mama Mags used to tell her. A wise woman keeps her burning on the inside. But Bella was the wise one, and she left home a long time ago.

Sweat stings Juniper’s neck, nettle-sharp. She watches the veins purpling in the officer’s throat, sees the silver-shined buttons straining on his chest, and slides her hands into her skirt pockets. Her fingers find a pair of candle-stubs and a pitch pine wand; a horseshoe nail and a silver tangle of cobweb; a pair of snake’s teeth she swears she won’t use again.

Heat gathers in her palms; words wait in her throat.

Maybe the officer won’t recognize her, with her hair cut short and her cloak hood pulled high. Maybe he’ll just yell and stomp like a ruffled rooster and let her go. Or maybe he’ll haul her into the station and she’ll end up swinging from a New Salem scaffold with the witch-mark drawn on her chest in clotted ash. Juniper declines to wait and find out.

The will. Heat is already boiling up her wrists, licking like whiskey through her veins.

The words. They singe her tongue as she whispers them into the clatter and noise of the station. “A tangled web she weaves—”

The way. Juniper pricks her thumb on the nail and holds the spider-web tight.

She feels the magic flick into the world, a cinder spit from some great unseen fire, and the officer claws at his own face. He swears and sputters as if he’s stumbled face-first into a cobweb. Passersby are pointing, beginning to laugh.

Juniper slips away while he’s still swiping at his eyes. A puff of steam, a passing crowd of railroad workers with their lunch pails swinging at their sides, and she’s out the station doors. She runs in her hitching fashion, staff clacking on cobbles.

Growing up, Juniper had imagined New Salem as something like Heaven, if Heaven had trolleys and gas-lamps—bright and clean and rich, far removed from the sin of Old Salem—but now she finds it chilly and colorless, as if all that clean living has leached the shine out of everything. The buildings are all grayish and sober, without so much as a flower-box or calico curtain peeking through the windows. The people are grayish and sober, too, their expressions suggesting each of them is on their way to an urgent but troublesome task, their collars starched and their skirts buttoned tight.

Maybe it’s the absence of witching; Mags said magic invited a certain amount of mess, which was why the honeysuckle grew three times as fast around her house and songbirds roosted under her eaves no matter the season. In New Salem—the City Without Sin, where the trolleys run on time and every street wears a Saint’s name—the only birds are pigeons and the only green is the faint shine of slime in the gutters.

A trolley jangles past several inches from Juniper’s toes and its driver swears at her. Juniper swears back.

She keeps going because there’s no place to stop. There are no mossy stumps or blue pine groves; every corner and stoop is filled up with people. Workers and maids, priests and officers, men with pocket-watches and ladies with big hats and children selling buns and newspapers and shriveled-up flowers. Juniper tries asking directions twice but the answers are baffling, riddle-like (follow St. Vincent’s to Fourth-and-Winthrop, cross the Thorn, and head straight). Within an hour she’s been invited to a boxing match, accosted by a gentleman who wants to discuss the relationship between the equinox and the end-times, and given a map that has nothing marked on it but thirty-nine churches.

Juniper stares down at the map, knotted and foreign and unhelpful, and wants to go the hell home.

Home is twenty-three acres on the west side of the Big Sandy River. Home is dogwoods blooming like pink-tipped pearls in the deep woods and the sharp smell of spring onions underfoot, the overgrown patch where the old barn burned and the mountainside so green and wet and alive it makes her eyes ache. Home is the place that beats like a second heart behind Juniper’s ribs.

Home was her sisters, once. But they left and never came back—never even sent so much as a two-cent postcard—and now neither will Juniper.

Red rage swells in Juniper’s chest. She crumples the map in her fist and keeps walking because it’s either run or set something on fire, and she already did that.

She walks faster, faster, stumbling a little on her bad leg, shouldering past wide bustles and fashionable half-capes, following nothing but her own heartbeat and perhaps the faintest thread of something else.

She passes apothecaries and grocers and an entire shop just for shoes. Another one for hats, with a window full of faceless heads covered in lace and froth and frippery. A cemetery that sprawls like a separate city behind a high iron fence, its lawn clipped short and its headstones straight as stone soldiers. Juniper’s eye is drawn to the blighted, barren witch-yard at its edges, where the ashes of the condemned are salted and spread; nothing grows in the yard but a single hawthorn, knobbled as a knuckle.

She crosses a bridge stretched over a river the color of day-old gravy. The city grows taller and grayer around her, the light swallowed by limestone buildings with domes and columns and men in suits guarding the entrances. Even the trolleys are on their best behavior, gliding past on smooth rails.

The street pours into a broad square. Linden trees line its edges, pruned into unnatural sameness, and people flock around the center.

“—why, we ask, should women wait in the shadows while their fathers and husbands determine our fates? Why should we—we doting mothers, we beloved sisters, we treasured daughters—be barred from that most fundamental of rights: the right to vote?”

The voice is urgent and piercing, rising high above the city rumble. Juniper sees a woman standing in the middle of the square wearing a white-curled wig like some small, unfortunate animal pinned to her head. A bronze Saint George glares down at her and women press near her, waving signs and banners.

Juniper figures she’s found St. George’s Square and the New Salem Women’s Association rally after all.

She’s never seen a real live suffragist. In the Sunday cartoons they’re drawn scraggle-haired and long-nosed, suspiciously witchy. But these women don’t look much like witches. They look more like the models in Ivory soap ads, all puffed and white and fancy. Their dresses are ironed and pleated, their hats feathered, their shoes shined and smart.

They part around Juniper as she shoves forward, looking sideways at the seasick roll of her gait, the Crow County mud still clinging to her hem. She doesn’t notice; her eyes are on the strident little woman at the foot of the statue. A badge on her chest reads Miss Cady Stone, NSWA President.

“It seems that our elected politicians disagree with the Constitution, which grants us certain inalienable rights. It seems that Mayor Worthington disagrees even with our benevolent God, who created us all equal.”

The woman keeps talking, and Juniper keeps listening. She talks about the ballot box and the mayoral election in November and the importance of self-determination. She talks about the olden-times when women were queens and scholars and knights. She talks about justice and equal rights and fair shares.

Juniper doesn’t follow all the details—she stopped going to Miss Hurston’s one-room schoolhouse at ten because after her sisters left there was no one to make her go—but she understands what Miss Stone is asking. She’s asking: Aren’t you tired yet? Of being cast down and cast aside? Of making do with crumbs when once we wore crowns?

She’s asking: Aren’t you angry yet?

And oh, Juniper is. At her mama for dying too soon and her daddy for not dying sooner. At her dumbshit cousin for getting the land that should have been hers. At her sisters for leaving and herself for missing them. At the whole Saints-damned world.

Juniper feels like a soldier with a loaded rifle, finally shown something she can shoot. Like a girl with a lit match, finally shown something she can burn.

There are women standing on either side of her, waving signs and filling in all the pauses with hear-hears, their faces full of bright hunger. For a second Juniper pretends she’s standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her sisters again and she feels the hollowed-out place they left behind them, that emptiness so vast even fury can’t quite fill it.

She wonders what they would say if they could see her now. Agnes would worry, always trying to be the mother they didn’t have. Bella would ask six dozen questions.

Mags would say: Girls who go looking for trouble usually find it.

Her daddy would say: Don’t forget what you are, girl. Then he would toss her down in the worm-eaten dark and hiss the answer: Nothing.

Juniper doesn’t realize she’s bitten her lip until she tastes blood. She spits and hears a faint hiss as it lands, like grease in a hot pan.

The wind rises.

It rushes through the square, midnight-cool and mischievous, fluttering the pages of Miss Cady Stone’s notes. It smells wild and sweet, half-familiar, like Mama Mags’s house on the solstice. Like earth and char and old magic. Like the small, feral roses that bloomed in the deep woods.

Miss Stone stops talking. The crowd clutches their hats and cloak-strings, squinting upward. A mousy-looking girl near Juniper fusses with a lacy umbrella, as if she thinks this is a mundane storm that can be taken care of with mundane means. Juniper hears crows and jays calling in the distance, sharp and savage, and knows better.

She whirls, looking for the witch behind the working—

And the world comes unsewn.

Sugar and spice

And everything nice.

A spell to soothe a bad temper, requiring a pinch of sugar & spring sunshine

Agnes Amaranth Eastwood was the middle sister, with hair as shining and black as a hawk’s eye. She was the strongest of the three. The unflinching one, the steady one, the one that knew how to work and keep working, tireless as the tide.

But on the spring equinox of 1893, she is weak.

The shift bell rings and Agnes sags against her loom, listening to the tick and hiss of cooling metal and the rising babble of the mill-girls. Cotton-dust coats her tongue and gums her eyes; her limbs ache and rattle, worn out from too many extra shifts in a row.

One of those nasty fevers is spreading through New Salem’s disorderly edges, festering in the boarding houses and barrooms of West Babel, and every third girl is hacking her lungs up in a bed at St. Charity’s. Demand is high, too, because one of the other mills caught fire last week.

Agnes heard women had leapt from the windows, falling to the streets like comets trailing smoke and ash. All week her dreams have been crimson, full of the wet pop of burning flesh, except it’s a memory and not a dream at all, and she wakes reaching for her sisters who aren’t there.

The other girls are filing out, gossiping and jostling. You headed to the rally? A huff of laughter. I got better ways to waste my time. Agnes has worked at the Baldwin Brothers Bonded Mill for a handful of years now, but she doesn’t know their names.

She used to learn their names. When she first came to New Salem, Agnes had a tendency to collect strays—the too-skinny girls who slept on the boarding-house floor because they couldn’t afford beds, the too-quiet girls with bruises around their wrists. Agnes tucked them all under her scrawny wing as if each of them were the sisters she left behind. There was one girl whose hair she brushed every morning before work, thirty strokes, like she used to do for Juniper.

She found work as a night-nurse at the Home for Lost Angels. She spent long shifts soothing babies who couldn’t be soothed, loving children she shouldn’t love, dreaming about a big house with sunny windows and enough beds for each little Lost Angel. One night she showed up to work to find half her babies had been shipped out west to be adopted by settler families hungry for helping hands.

She stood among the empty beds, hands trembling, remembering what her Mama Mags told her: Every woman draws a circle around herself. Sometimes she has to be the only thing inside it.

Agnes quit the orphanage. She told the boarding-house girl to brush her own damn hair and started work at the Baldwin Brothers. She figured you couldn’t love a cotton mill.

The bell clangs again and Agnes unpeels her forehead from the loom. The floor boss leers idly as the girls file past, reaching for skirts and blouses with pinching fingers. He doesn’t reach for Agnes. On her first shift Mr. Malton had cornered her behind the cotton bales—she was always the pretty one, all shining hair and hips—but Mags taught her granddaughters ways to discourage that kind of horseshit. Since then Mr. Malton saves his leers for other girls.

Agnes watches the new girl flinch as she passes him, her shoulders sloped with shame. She looks away.

The alley air tastes clean and bright after the humid dark of the mill. Agnes turns west up St. Jude’s, headed home—well, not home, just the moldy little room she rents in the South Sybil boarding house, which smells like boiled cabbage no matter what she cooks—until she sees the man waiting at the corner.

Hair slicked earnestly to one side, cap clutched in nervous hands. Wholesome good looks, clean fingernails, a weak chin you don’t notice at first: Floyd Matthews.

Oh hell. His eyes are pleading at her, his mouth half-open to call her name, but Agnes fixes her gaze on the apron-strings of the woman in front of her and hopes he’ll just give up and find some other mill-girl to pine after.

A scuffed boot appears in her path, followed by an outstretched hand. She wishes she didn’t remember so precisely how that hand felt against her skin, smooth and soft, unscarred.

“Aggie, love, talk to me.” What’s so hard about calling a woman by her full name? Why do men always want to give you some smaller, sweeter name than the one your mama gave you?

“I already said my piece, Floyd.”

She tries to edge past him but he puts his hands on her shoulders, imploring. “I don’t understand! Why would you turn me down? I could take you out of this place”—he waves a soft hand at the dim alleys and sooty brick of the west side—“and make an honest woman out of you. I could give you anything you want!” He sounds bewildered, like his proposal was a mathematical equation and Agnes produced the incorrect response. Like a nice boy told no for the first time in his nice life.

She sighs at him, aware that the other girls are pausing on the street, turning to look at them. “You can’t give me what I want, Floyd.” Agnes doesn’t know what she wants, exactly, but it’s not Floyd Matthews or his little gold ring.

Floyd gives her a little shake. “But I love you!”

Oh, Agnes doubts the hell out of that. He loves pieces of her—the thunder-blue of her eyes, the full moon-glow of her breasts in the dark—but he never even met most of her. If he peeled back her pretty skin he’d find nothing soft or sweet at all, just busted glass and ashes and the desperate, animal will to stay alive.

Agnes removes Floyd’s hands from her shoulders, gently. “I’m sorry.”

She strides down St. Mary’s with his voice rising behind her, pleading, desperate. His pleas curdle into cruelty soon enough. He curses her, calls her a witch and a whore and a hundred other names she learned from her daddy first. She doesn’t turn back.

One of the other mill workers, a broad woman with a heavy accent, offers Agnes a nod as she passes and grunts “boys, eh” in the same tone she might say “fleas” or “piss-stains,” and Agnes almost smiles at her before she catches herself.

She keeps walking. She dreams as she walks: a home of her own, so big she has extra beds just for guests. She’ll write her little sister another letter: You’ve got someplace to run, if you want it. Maybe this time she would answer. Maybe the two of them could be family again.

It’s a stupid dream.

Agnes learned young that you have a family right up until you don’t. You take care of people right up until you can’t, until you have to choose between staying and surviving.

By the time she turns on South Sybil the boarding house is lit up, noisy with the evening talk of working girls and unwed women.

Agnes finds her feet carrying her past it, even though her back aches and her stomach is sour and her breasts feel heavy, achy. She winds up Spinner’s Row and down St. Lamentation Avenue, leaving the factories and tenements and three dozen languages of West Babel behind her, lured forward by a strange, half-imagined tugging behind her ribs.

She buys a hot pie from a cart. A block later she throws it away, acid in her throat.

She heads uptown without quite admitting it to herself. She crosses the Thorn and the buildings get grander and farther apart, the faded advertisements and tattered playbills replaced by fresh campaign posters: Clement Hughes for a Safer Salem! Gideon Hill: Our Light Against the Darkness!

She falls in behind a flock of pinch-lipped women wearing white sashes with CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S UNION embroidered on one side and WOMEN WITHOUT SIN on the other.

Agnes has heard of them. They’re always hassling street-witches and trying to save girls from the whorehouse whether or not they want to be saved (they mostly don’t). Their leader is named something like Purity or Grace, one of those ladylike virtues. Agnes figures she’s the one walking out front—slender, white-gloved, her hair piled up in a perfect Gibson Girl pouf—wearing an expression suggesting she’s Joan of Arc’s tight-laced sister. Agnes would bet a silver dollar that her maid uses a little witching to keep her gown unwrinkled and her hair neat.

She wonders what Mama Mags would say if she could see them. Juniper would growl. Bella would have her nose in a book.

Agnes doesn’t know why she’s thinking of her sisters; she hasn’t in years, not since the day she drew her circle and left them standing on the outside of it.

The street ends at St. George’s Square, framed by City Hall and the College, and the white-sashed ladies begin stamping around the perimeter, chanting Bible verses and scowling at the gathering of suffragists in the center. Agnes should turn around and go back to South Sybil, but she lingers.

A woman in a white wig is speechifying about women’s rights and women’s votes and women’s history, about taking on the mantles of their fore-mothers and marching forward arm in arm.

And Saints save her, Agnes wishes it was real. That she could just wave a sign or shout a slogan and step into a better world, one where she could be more than a daughter or a mother or a wife. Where she could be something instead of nothing.

Don’t forget what you are.

But Agnes hasn’t believed in witch-tales since she was a little girl.

She is turning away, heading back to the boarding house, when the wind whips her skirts sideways and tugs her hair loose from its braid.

It smells foreign, green, un-city-like. It reminds Agnes of the dark interior of Mama Mags’s house, hung with herbs and the bones of small creatures, of wild roses in the woods. The wind pulls at her, searching or asking, and her breasts ache in strange answer. Something wet and greasy dampens her dress-front and drips to the cobbles below. Something the color of bone or pearl.


Agnes stares at the splattered drops like a woman watching a runaway carriage come hurtling toward her. Dates and numbers skitter behind her eyes as she counts up the days since Floyd lay beside her in the dark, his palm sliding smooth down her belly, laughing. What’s the harm, Aggie?

No harm at all. For him.


  • "A gorgeous and thrilling paean to the ferocious power of women. The characters live, bleed, and roar. I adore them, and long for witchcraft to awaken in all of us. Harrow makes it feel possible, and even likely."—Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author
  • "A glorious escape into a world where witchcraft has dwindled to a memory of women's magic, and three wild, sundered sisters hold the key to bring it back....A tale that will sweep you away."—Yangsze Choo, NYT bestselling author of Night Tiger and The Ghost Bride
  • "This novel cleverly connects the dots between the suffragist movement of the past to the Me Too movement of today. Compelling, exhilarating, and magical, The Once and Future Witches is a must-read."—Booklist (starred review)
  • "A radiant masterpiece of pure storytelling magic! Meet the Eastwood Sisters and prepare to take the best book vacation you will have in a long time."—Gwendolyn Womack, USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller
  • "Drawn from folklore and history, ­Harrow's lyrical prose immerses readers in a story of power and secrets that is not easily ­forgotten."—Library Journal (starred review)
  • "The magical tale of imperfect heroines, fractured sisterhood, and shadowy undying villains you never knew you needed. Alix Harrow crafts a delightfully bewitching story with familiar but ingeniously recrafted histories and deft worldbuilding as rich as the prose that leaps off the page. This book is an amazing bit of spellcraft and resistance so needed in our times, and a reminder that secret words and ways can never be truly and properly lost, as long as there are tongues to speak them and ears to listen."—P. Djèlí Clark, author The Black God's Drum
  • "A love letter to folklore and the rebellious women of history."—Publishers Weekly
  • "This is a delightful, satisfying novel, a tale of women's battle for equality, of fairy tales twisted into wonderfully witchy spells, of magics both large and small, and history re-imagined. All of it is told in Alix Harrow's exquisite language and with her vivid characterizations-a great pleasure to read."—Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches
  • "A breathtaking book-brilliant and raw and dark and complicated. It's also, to be blunt, uncannily relevant."—Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars
  • "A brilliant dazzle of a book. This story of sisters and witches, memory and power cracked open my heart and set down roots there. I devoured it in enormous gulps, and utterly loved it."—Kat Howard, author of An Unkindness of Ghosts
  • Previous praise for Alix E. Harrow:

    "A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers and the doors they lead us through...absolutely enchanting." --Christina Henry, national bestselling author of Lost Boys and Alice on The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    "One for the favorites shelf... Here is a book to make you happy when you gently close it. Here you will find wonder and questions and an unceasingly gorgeous love of words which compasses even the shape a letter makes against a page." --NPR Books on The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    "Harrow has created a gorgeous world of magic that is at once familiar and startlingly new. With lush writing and a sense of wonder, The Ten Thousand Doors of Januaryexamines power, progress, and identity. It is an adventure in the best and grandest sense." --Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation

    "A love letter to imagination, adventure, the written word, and the power of many kinds of love." --Kirkus on The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    "A magical, spellbinding saga... A fantastical journey of self-discovery that reveals the true power of our imagination." --Women's World on The Ten Thousand Doors of January

    "The Ten Thousand Doors of January is both whimsical and smart, using engaging writing and a unique plot to touch on serious topics. Harrow's debut reads like a love letter to the art of storytelling itself, and readers will be eager for more." --Booklist

On Sale
Oct 13, 2020
Page Count
528 pages

Alix E. Harrow

About the Author

Alix E. Harrow is an ex-historian with lots of opinions and excessive library fines, currently living in Kentucky with her husband and their semi-feral children. She won a Hugo for her short fiction, and has been nominated for the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter.

Learn more about this author