Conjure Women

Conjure Women

A Novel

Book - 2020
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A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing--and for the conjuring of curses--are at the heart of this dazzling first novel

"Lush, irresistible . . . It took me into the hearts of women I could otherwise never know. I was transported."--Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of White Houses and Away

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother's footsteps as a midwife; and their master's daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Praise for Conjure Women

"[A] haunting, promising debut . . . Through complex characters and bewitching prose, Atakora offers a stirring portrait of the power conferred between the enslaved women. This powerful tale of moral ambiguity amid inarguable injustice stands with Esi Edugyan's Washington Black." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An engrossing debut . . . Atakora structures a plot with plenty of satisfying twists. Life in the immediate aftermath of slavery is powerfully rendered in this impressive first novel." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Publisher: New York : Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2020]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525511489
Branch Call Number: ATAKORA
Characteristics: 400 pages ; 25 cm


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From Library Staff

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

eBook & eAudiobk formats available Apr 7, 2020. Lyrical and character-wise with Rue at the center of this story; she’s coming-of-age and learning to be a midwife from her mom, May Belle. They are the Conjure Women on the southern plantation where they are enslaved. Mystical natural elements a... Read More »

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Jun 21, 2020

Edmonds library display during June 2020

May 10, 2020

Powerful words make powerful images of this plantation Civil War and post-Civil War story. The story packs a wallop. Moving back and forth in time, the Civil War section is told by the slave woman responsible for healing, and that included conjure magic. At times, it is not an easy book to read. I wanted to slap the master’s young daughter so often and tell her to grow up. Reconstruction times are told by May Belle’s daughter. Also, a healing woman. There is so much emotion in this book, so much strength in both the slaves and the newly freed people. Endurance beyond what most of us could deal with. Freedom is not a pretty picture, it’s painful. And as secrets are revealed as the book ends, it becomes even more painful and sad. Compelling to the end, the reader will think about the people in this book for a long time.

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

LPL_ShirleyB Apr 27, 2020

Strongly recommended; I have become a dedicated fan of this author!

OPL_DavidD Dec 27, 2019

This book gives you a lot to think about. After finishing it, it sat with me for awhile. The characters feel authentic and their relationships are messy and complicated. The story jumps between before and after the war, giving it a sense of scope.


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