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Weyward: A Novel
by Emilia Hart

Published: 2024-02-27T00:0
Paperback : 416 pages
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WINNER OF TWO GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS (Best Debut Novel & Best Historical Fiction)

An Indie Next March 2023 Pick • A LibraryReads March 2023 Pick • An Amazon "Best Books of the Year So Far" 2023 Pick

"A brave and original debut, Weyward is a ...

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WINNER OF TWO GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS (Best Debut Novel & Best Historical Fiction)

An Indie Next March 2023 Pick • A LibraryReads March 2023 Pick • An Amazon "Best Books of the Year So Far" 2023 Pick

"A brave and original debut, Weyward is a spellbinding story about what may transpire when the natural world collides with a legacy of witchcraft." ––Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The London Séance Society

I am a Weyward, and wild inside.

2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great-aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she suspects that her great-aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. When Altha was a girl, her mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence of witchcraft is laid out against Altha, she knows it will take all her powers to maintain her freedom.

1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family's grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives––and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.

Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart's Weyward is an astonishing debut, and an enthralling novel of female resilience.

Editorial Review

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Ten days they�?�¢??d held me there. Ten days, with only the stink of my own flesh for company. Not even a rat graced me with its presence. There was nothing to attract it; they had brought me no food. Only ale. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

Questions from the publisher - added by Pauline

1. Consider the evolution of the name “Weyward” and the way women in this novel receive it. Why
and how do the Weyward women grow to accept and proudly own this name? Why do you think
more recent versions of Macbeth have replaced “Weyward” with “Weird”?

2. “The Weyward women had lived safely in Crows Beck these last hundred years, and in that time
had healed its people . . . We could use our ability to heal without attracting too much suspicion.
The people were grateful for this gift” (page 279). How does the knowledge of other Weyward
women help Altha, Violet, and Kate heal when they need to? What role does nature play in
healing these three Weyward women?

3. Consider the ways that witchcraft shapes all three narrative threads. Who does society deem to
be a witch, and what are the factors that fuel that kind of accusation?

4. Violet spends a lot of time and energy in search of information about her mother. Similarly, Kate
seeks to understand who Violet was. Once they both find answers, how does this new knowledge
affect Violet and Kate moving forward? Does it change the way they view themselves at all?

5. Though we never hear from her directly, Elizabeth’s actions have repercussions that trickle down
to Violet, and eventually, Kate. What did you make of the choice to not include her narration?
How do she and Altha shape the present narrative, even though they’re both long deceased?

6. We learn that Kate “reread books she’d loved as a child” for the comfort of their familiarity
(page 22). How did the themes from various works of Shakespeare, The Secret Garden, and
Grimms’ Fairy Tales make an impression on both Kate and Violet? Do you have a book that you’ve
returned to over the years, and what about it makes you keep coming back? Can a familiar text
also be read in new ways?

7. Describe Violet and Graham’s relationship and its evolution throughout the novel.

8. Why do you think Simon, Rupert, Frederick, and John Milburn feel the need to establish
dominance over the women in their lives? How do Graham, Henry, and Adam Bainbridge differ
from these men?

9. Compare and contrast how Kate, Violet, and Grace feel about their pregnancies, which were a
product of toxic relationships. Do you think Kate’s decision to keep her baby was affected by
what she learned about the earlier Weyward women?

10. How do the traumas that Kate and Violet each experience affect how they view themselves?
How do they work through this, and how do they arrive at new perspectives by the end of the novel?
What role does forgiveness play in this evolution?

11. In Altha’s and Violet’s worlds, it is considered a “sin” for a woman to deliberately end her pregnancy,
and therefore, they can be punished by the law. Is this ideology still at work today? How do religious
beliefs play a role in U.S. lawmaking regarding women’s bodily autonomy? What are your thoughts
on how the concept of sin relates to our contemporary definitions of crime?

12. This novel follows the lives of three different women in three different time periods. How did
the movement between these perspectives affect your reading experience? In what other ways were
these women linked, aside from their familial ties?

13. Did you connect with one character more than the others? If so, why? What do the parallels in their
stories say about the female experience and/or the degree to which society’s treatment of women
has evolved?

14. In what ways does this novel nudge at the idea of a woman returning to her natural, most free state
of being? What does it mean to you to utilize the gift of your inner wild?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

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by Tara E. (see profile) 04/13/24

by Shari D. (see profile) 04/10/24


by Jess A. (see profile) 03/13/24

by Melia T. (see profile) 11/09/23

  "Weyward"by Keri C. (see profile) 09/27/23

Enjoyed the format and style. Easy read that kept my interest and desire to know 'what next'.

by Jill R. (see profile) 07/02/23

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