Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Secret History of Witches” as Want to Read:
A Secret History of Witches
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Secret History of Witches

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  14,726 ratings  ·  1,684 reviews
An ancient and dangerous power is being handed down from mother to daughter through some of the most consequential historic events of the last two centuries.

After Grandmére Ursule gives her life to save her tribe, her magic seems to die with her. Even so, her family keeps the Old Faith, practicing the spells and rites that have been handed from mother to daughter for gener
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Redhook
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Secret History of Witches, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Linda C I'm sorry but I simply have to ask... what do you normally purchase for the library? In our high school, my daughter read The Nightengale for summer r…moreI'm sorry but I simply have to ask... what do you normally purchase for the library? In our high school, my daughter read The Nightengale for summer reading before her junior year and All the Light We Cannot See before senior year. High school students are not children. Dont treat them like it. They know about sex because they are having it. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,726 ratings  ·  1,684 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Secret History of Witches
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Europe this story follows a family of witches spanning five generations and chronicles how the magic is passed down from mother to daughter and their efforts to keep their craft a secret. I really did not care for this book, it lacked any detail and intrigue. The story of each daughter just seemed like the same story repeated over again with minor alterations of detail. Girl is puzzled by secrecy of mother, receives her powers at puberty, fights with mother, finds baby daddy, bears daught ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars-2020
I want more :(

Also the fictional witchcraft in this was rooted in traditional practices and it was SO nice to see
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing book covering five generations of witches from a Romani tribe of gypsies. The craft is passed from mother to daughter and the story is organized with a section of the book on each witch - Nanette, Ursule, Irene, Morwen, and Veronica. Each of the stories is similar in that the craft was passed from mother to daughter, witches are prosecuted and they fear this and hide their craft, etc. But each has a different level of power. A strong mother-daughter bond as well as a historical family ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of family sagas
A Secret History of Witches is a family saga that spans over a century. It stars five generations of women – Nanette, Ursule, Irène, Morwen, and Veronica – from a Romani family, the Orchiéres, and takes us from Brittany to Cornwall to Wales to London. The women of the Orchiére family carry on the family tradition of witchcraft, passed down from mother to daughter.

This book was a mixed bag for me, with some things I enjoyed and others that could have been better. What I loved the most, though, we
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

A Secret History of Witches is one of those stories that span many generations, following a magical line of women through the ages starting from early 19th century Brittany up to the end of World War II. Told in five parts, the story first begins with the life of Nanette Orchiére, the youngest of six sisters. Descended from the Romani, her family has always been persecuted for their heritage but also for their women’s gift
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Secret History of Witches tells the tale of five generations of witches in a gypsy family. Mothers pass the gift to their daughters. They are persecuted and have to hide their powers from others. Spanning the time from the early 1800s to WW2, the book is divided into five sections, one for each of the five Orchiere family witches -- Nanette, Ursule, Irene, Morwen and Veronica.

This book was at times a little too slow moving, but there is such a strong mother-daughter love through each generatio
The Library Lady
I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, and yet I found it unevenly written. Though yes, I KNOW it is about witches, some of it went beyond my ability to suspend disbelief, not because of the magic, but because of the characters' actions. And I found the end to be abrupt and not terribly satisfying. ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely adored the multigenerational journey of magical women depicted in this wonderful book!!
Joanna Smith
‘A Secret History of Witches’ is a generational tale of a long line of Romani witches and the relationship between mothers and daughters and the passing down of their shared history. It’s also a story of families fleeing from persecution, class and religious prejudices and also the importance of holding on to tradition and culture in an ever evolving modern world. The novel beautifully explores the fragility of love and the power of survival with themes that are still relevant today.
Alice Lippart
Really good historical fiction, atmospheric and loved the mother/daughter exploration. Felt a tad too long though.
Anna Henke
I would like to thank the publisher, Orbit Books, for providing me with a digital advanced copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited to be approved as this book is SO in my wheelhouse. A historical family saga about witches? Yes, please.

After having read the book, I have been hesitant to write this review because, honestly, A Secret History of Witches theoretically rang all my bells but failed to live up to my expectations. This was a so-so read for me.
Olivier Delaye
Jul 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up A Secret History of Witches, I was hoping for a sprawling family saga a la Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour which I thoroughly enjoyed both for its beautiful prose and captivating plot. Well, hope might spring eternal but patience has a limit, and I reached mine by page 200. Not only is the story tediously repetitive with each new generation of witches basically doing the same things as the last, the characterization is also incredibly shallow and clunky in its sexist representatio ...more
N.N. Light
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book I thoroughly enjoyed listening to. There were times I was so caught up in the story, I kept bumping into things.

My Rating: 5+stars
Mary Urban
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While a scrying stone or spell prove useful in this book, the real power the characters have is the undeniable strength of the mother-daughter bond. Set against tangible historical backdrops, A Secret History of Witches pursues this primal, nuanced, and complicated relationship that every woman lives with.

And not too magick-y, for the fantasy-averse.
Sharon Thompson
Meh! Interesting enough to finish, but rather cyclical and predictable. The last witch story almost made me stop reading because one character was so ridiculous to introduce, but I was on an airplane, so I finished it. More continuity between the witches would have helped with depth of character.
ale ♡︎
Mar 23, 2021 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
yES, YES, YES!!!
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting in Brittany in 1821, this is the history of one family of witches, the Orchieres. They are Romani, and therefore automatically suspect whenever someone wants to persecute a witch. Which is why one night Grand-mere Ursule gives her life to hide the family from a witch hunting priestI, telling them to flee across the channel to Cornwall, taking the family’s two treasures: the grimoire, and the large crystal that was dug from the mud many generations ago.

Seventeen years later, having found
Liz Barnsley
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Secret History Of Witches is a beautifully written and wonderfully absorbing read following one family of practicing witches down the ages, facing prejudice, a long heritage and a struggle to maintain their old ways.
It is also a fascinating character driven drama about the relationship between mother’s and daughters, sisters and family that is utterly gripping. Louisa Morgan weaves a spell around the reader as the torch is passed from generation to generation and merges with real life history,
S.J. Higbee
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this engrossing saga about a family cursed with magical ability - and the extra spin put on events surrounding WW2 worked particularly well... Highly recommended for fans of family-based historical adventures with a twist of magic
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Secret History of Witches is a novel for lovers of family sagas where a baton is passed from generation to generation. In this case, the baton is a scrying stone that aids the daughters who receive it in the practice of their witchcraft.

The book's synopsis provides a nice glimpse of the story without giving too much away, but in hindsight that could be because there aren't really any big "reveals" to spoil. Readers looking for historical character-driven novels are likely to enjoy this more t
Evelyn Medina
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a wonderful read! It was a bit of a slow start but it definitely picked up after a few chapters. It was so interesting to dive into this long line of witches and learn about the different family members and their powers. There’s so much history, romance, magic a bit of suspense and I loved every minute of this. The ONLY reason I took one star away is because whenever I found myself getting more and more involved in a certain witch’s story, we would move on to the next “book” or fam ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Three and a half stars: A lengthy novel that explores the tradition of witch craft over two hundred years as it is passed from mother to daughter.

It is the eighteen hundreds, witches aren’t hunted and burned at the stake like they once were, but make no mistake, being branded a witch still has devastating consequences even two hundred years past the height of the witch hunts. That is why on this particular night, the Orchiere family is on the road, fleeing the villagers who mean to persecute the
Solid writing makes this 3 stars. I really liked the synopsis, but unfortunately, the eras for each of the witches didn't really get flushed out. Ms. Morgan keeps the witch in question in the dark (so to speak) until she becomes "a woman". Then suddenly said witch knows everything! Just as you are getting to know that character, it seems, boom - you're on to the next one.
I wanted to know more about each woman and felt disappointed with the mother-daughter relationship for most of them. Our las
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. A beautifully crafted family saga spanning over five generations that held me spellbound until it's last page. Pure magic!

A Secret History of Witches is the story of five generations of witches and their trials and tribulations. Each witch has her own story to tell and the choices she makes in her life. I found that I enjoyed the earlier generations rather than the later ones. The background general history was fascinating but I found it a bit less believable as the stories became closer to modern times. I also found the stories were a bit uneven and more developed with the earlier generations. Overall, I did enjoy ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book. I kept reading in hopes that the story would turn riveting, unfortunately that never happened for me. Just the same old thing throughout the generations of Witches.
Jenn "JR"
Really nicely written prose - though I have some issues with the progression of events (ie, rags to riches). We start off with Nanette - who is a Romani child living on the Brittany coast in the early 1800s -- her family is fleeing a witch hunter and to go across the channel to the Cornish coast where they make a new life. Only Nanette learns English & Cornish, while her (much) older sisters stick to French. Witch hunters pursue them to England.

Throughout the book - there's an emphasis on how th
This is a fun, inter-generational family history of witches. Each section features one of five Orchiére daughters and their story of how their magic develops, and how they find love in their lives (or not). But witches must always hide their powers from everyone else, for a woman with that kind of power is a danger to society. The novel begins in Brittany and ends in London, and moves from early 19th century all the way to WWII. It's at its strongest when the history comes alive and plays an int ...more
Primrose Jess
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
My only complaint... why did it have to end already?

A truly escapist read that transported me from 1821 through the end of WW2. Tracing the lineage of mothers and daughters and their inherited gift was fascinating. Morgan crafts a tale that chronicles five generations of women in a family and their experiences with their magical inheritance. A grimoire and a crystal hold properties that speak to each woman. Each woman has an experience with the legacy left to her and how to wield the power the
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a gem! I really enjoyed it - it's a good blend of fantasy and historical fiction. I was initially very wary of a book that carries over 5 generations, but the characters are great - starting with Nanette who is sweet - not all of the ladies of the Orchiére line are quite so sweet, but all are such motivated and powerful characters. Though there is some magic, these witches prove to be powerful, even without it. One thing I do have to say is that it felt a little anti-climactic, tho ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: A Secret History of Witches - Morgan - 3 stars 1 6 Aug 21, 2020 03:14PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Witch in Time
  • The Witch's Daughter (The Witch's Daughter, #1)
  • Magic Lessons (Practical Magic, #0.1)
  • The Book of Magic (Practical Magic, #2)
  • The Witches of BlackBrook (Witches of BlackBrook #1)
  • The Witches of New York
  • The Once and Future Witches
  • The Lost Apothecary
  • The Winter Witch
  • The Little Shop of Found Things (Found Things, #1)
  • Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1)
  • Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things, #2)
  • The Garden of Promises and Lies (Found Things, #3)
  • The Return of the Witch (The Witch's Daughter, #2)
  • The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.2)
  • The Silver Witch
  • The Midnight Witch
  • The Witch's Heart
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Louisa Morgan is the author of A Secret History of Witches, The Witch’s Kind, and The Age of Witches. Louisa is a yogini, a musician, a mom, and a dog lover. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her spirit familiar, Oscar the Border Terrier. Visit her at ...more

News & Interviews

Sophie Gonzales, author of Perfect on Paper, and Cale Dietrich, author of The Friend Scheme, team up for a queer boy-band romance full of...
27 likes · 4 comments
“Because men believe it’s their right to tell women how to live. They tell us who to marry, what to wear, when to go out and when to stay. Some men beat their wives, and no one speaks a word about it. But despite all the power they hold over us, they feel powerless against our kind. We resist. We cause things to happen. We interfere with their plans, with what they think is the natural order. That frightens them. Men hate being afraid, so they hate us instead.” 14 likes
“Like true country people, they loved watching the countryside change with the seasons. They savored the trees turning green in the spring. They saw the summer flowers blossom, fade, and drop. They exclaimed over the autumn colors, gold and red and rust. They watched the leaves fall, and the fields turn sere, to be purified by winter. The wheel of the year turned once, twice, three times.” 1 likes
More quotes…