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Book Review: Gothic galore in "The Witches of Bone Hill"

Guillermo Del Toro’s “Crimson Peake” meets “Practical Magic” in this debut novel from Ava Morgyn, The Witches of Bone Hill.


After finding out her husband has been cheating on her, Cordelia Bone needs a break from reality. When her sister, Eustace, informs her they are the last remaining relatives of a dead great aunt and must deal with the estate, Cordelia decides to use the house to pay off her ex’s debt and get her shit together.


Once they arrive, the sisters realize their inherited estate is worth much more than expected. Their great aunt’s attorney controls every aspect of the house. When they stumble upon secret rituals, peculiar artifacts, and strange visions of their dead relatives, the sisters must uncover their family secrets, including what happened to their mother and deceased relatives.


A haunted house setting will always be superior to any other setting. Morgyn brought the Bone Hill house to life with intricate, gothic details and atmospheric writing. If a book can make me say, “nope, nope, nope,” out loud, it automatically is a three-star read. If you’re horror adverse, I won’t attempt The Witches of Bone Hill, but if you’re like me and love a hair-raising gothic novel, this one is for you,


My only realistic gripe with the novel was the magic system the Bone sisters utilize; the author’s explanations for the runes, recipes, and rituals seemed haphazard and without much thought. Despite the title, their witchcraft took a backseat to the narrative, so in the end, the ins and outs of their magic didn’t matter but would’ve been a personal preference.


Also, the romance between Cordelia and Gordon had chemistry and potential. Still, by the time the book’s second half came around, it floundered and felt like having a romance for the sake of ticking a box. Her ex-husband’s debt issues were also very random and carried little to no urgency in the novel, and it could have been taken out with no problem. 


A gothic family saga that floundered here and there, The Witches of Bone Hill had the potential to be a great horror novel for non-horror fans.


This ARC was provided by St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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