Healer and Witch

Candlewick. Apr. 2022. 304p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536219562.
Gr 5-8–In 16th-century France, 15-year-old Sylvie, her mother, and Grand-mere are healers; Grand-mere and Sylvie’s abilities are rooted in magic, however. When her grandmother dies, and Sylvie’s mother no longer remembers her because of Sylvie’s mistake, the teen has to leave her small, Catholic village to find anyone who can teach her how to control her great power. She is accompanied by Martin, a younger childhood friend, who was asked by Grand-mere to follow Sylvie if the girl ever left the village. She meets the wise woman Ceciline, one of Grand-mere’s former friends. Ceciline may be like Sylvie’s Grand-mere, but her feelings about people without magic are completely different. The young woman uses her power, which is much greater than anyone else’s, to find her own path forward. Werlin’s middle grade debut features adventure, magic, and a strong female protagonist. This suspenseful historical fantasy explores how society perceives and attempts to control women, especially those who are seen as strong, wise, or powerful.
VERDICT Recommended for middle school collections, this is a solid standalone choice for libraries where historical, magic-based fiction is popular.

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