The Witchling’s Girl is a lyrical and magical story about Hayley, the titlular Witchling’s Girl, who was born with death-magic and is given to Marian for further instruction in magic. We follow Hayley as she grows up into the role of the Witching — the town’s healer and midwife to both the newly-born and the newly-dead. I loved this aspect of the story in particular and felt it was incredibly well orchestrated.
The world-building is wonderful and so descriptive! I loved the chthonic aspects of the story, beneath the House of the Dead, but my heart pulled for both Marian and Hayley, who, as Witchlings, cannot have family or friends due to the nature of their work. Sadly, even though the Witchling provides essential services for the town, the fear of Witches runs deep and dark, and this is something that Hayley must learn to balance.
The characters get under your skin and I found myself wondering about them long after I’d finished reading this book. Despite her magical abilities, Hayley is so human that it’s hard not to relate to her. She is contradictory and frustrating but at the same time so utterly, messily human that you cannot help but feel for her. The other characters are equally well-drawn and I really loved Marian in particular.
This is a magical story and has some fascinating insights on alternative concepts around death, dying, and bereavement. Highly recommended!
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.