The Witch HavenNew
In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.
Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.
Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?
The Witch Haven is set in the early 20th century and takes place in a school for witches, which works very well for the mystery that is the core of this story, the murder of Frances's brother. The mystery aspect is very engaging. You move along, collecting clues rapidly as our main character learns more about this exciting world of witches and magic after she accidentally murders a man in her place of employment.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Set in 1911 during a time when sexism and misogyny were an everyday part of life. France's grief over the loss of her brother was expressed and felt throughout the whole book. The ending leaves it open for the second book, though it is not labeled as having a second book on Goodreads. The aspect of using magic to take control of someone else body to achieve one's needs made for a creepy case, especially once we find out who is leaving Frances's notes on her bed.
I recommend giving The Witch Haven a shot; if Historical Fantasy, Feminist themes, a swoon-worthy boy, witches, strong family bonds, and magic interest you, this is for you.