Publisher: The Borough Press
Publication Date: 2nd February 2023
Well I do love a multiple timeline narrative in a book don’t I? So I had high hopes for Weyward by Emilia Hart.
Weyward tells the interconnecting stories of three women all living in different centuries. The book opens in 2019 with Kate Ayers fleeing from her physically and mentally abusive relationship with Simon, to Weyward cottage, a ramshackle abode with its wild gardens left to her by her great aunt in her will. Kate is looking for refuge and a place to gather herself but finds that her recently acquired property brings with it some questions she must figure out the answers to.
In the 1600’s Altha Weyward finds herself on trial for the murder of a local farmer. Altha and her mother were local healers often feared and revered for their potential links with witchcraft. After Altha’s mother dies she makes a promise to keep her gifts hidden but can she manage to keep her promise….
In 1947 we meet Violet, a teenage girl living with her father and brother Graham their mother having died supposedly in childbirth with Graham. Violet is a wilful girl who has a curious mind and a very strong connection with nature, insects and animals. But her curiosity is often curtailed by her father particularly when this inquisitiveness extends to asking questions about her dead mother, a woman she only has a necklace to remember her by.
This is an expertly crafted story about how the three women are intrinsically connected through the centuries. Each of them fighting their own battles against the patriarchy in their own way. These women are ‘other’ whether they realise it or not, Altha is fully aware she is different from the rest of the people in the village, young Violet feels different but is quashed by her overbearing father and Kate has powers she hasn’t yet tapped into. But with the help of Weyward cottage and the centuries old secrets buried there she can find a way to tap into her strength for herself and the women who have gone before her under the Weyward name.
This is a multilayered tale which is visceral and compelling. With short punchy chapters you flit between the narratives of the three very memorable women. I say memorable because sometimes in books with multiple timeline narratives you as a reader can feel more invested in one characters timeline than the others. This is very much not the case with Weyward.
It has elements of magical realism that really build towards the end which I found myself getting so caught up in! I loved it.
I am extremely excited to see what Emilia brings us next!
Thank you to The Borough Press for my review copy.
See you all soon.
Amanda x Bookishchat