Title: A Witch in Time
Author: Constance Sayers
Publisher: Redhook (Hachette)
Publication date: February 11, 2020
My rating: 88%
|A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.|
In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.
Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.
In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…
A Witch in Time is perfect for fans of A Secret History of Witches, Outlander, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Hi guys! This is more of an informal book talk on A Witch in Time so I hope you don‘t mind my random rambling.
I randomly picked up ‘A Witch in Time’ a few weeks ago because I was intrigued by the blurb. I’m a sucker for witch stories, and the fact that this book would have three different time lines made me really excited about this book.
The story starts with Juliet, a sixteen-year-old girl who begins a naive love affair with a painter (who initially paid her to be his muse…guess he ltook painting her like one of his French girls a bit too seriously and put it on a whole new level) . Once her mothe finds out, she does what any other good mother would do — she drags her daughter down to the kitchen, performs some painful dark magic on her and, there you go, puts a curse on her daughter’s former lover. Too bad she accidentally curses her daughter too. This is where we get to the juicy part: How did she know this sort of magic? And how could this curse go wrong so badly? Too bad Juliet now gets reborn every time she dies and will probably never find out the reason because death has a way of finding her.
Present day Juliet, now called Helen and a recent divorcee, doesn‘t remember a single thing about her past. It‘s only until she meets Luke Varner that her memories come flooding back (the physical consequences low-key reminded me of The Butterfly Effect) and from there we are taken on a wild ride.
This book put me on an emotional rollercoaster. It‘s hard to put it into one box because it has a little bit of everything — fantasy, romance, historical fiction and so much more. What initially seems to be a simple curse only, quickly turns into a much darker story where the lives of Helen/Juliet versions, Luke and Auguste Marchant are unevokably connected to each other.
A Witch in Time is a fascinating read, but what makes it even more intriguing is the character growth each character experiences throughout time. With nothing but a little bit of guidance from Luke as well as her own ‘memories’, Helen is pushed through a series of unfortunate events in her past lives. While she initially wasn’t the most likable character I have ever met (she was a little bit too posh for my taste and living the bougie D.C. lifestyle), she did go through significant changes in a very short time and it surprised me how much character depth the author was able to project on her in this very short period. Even though all four ‘Juliets’ that we meet throughout history bear the same soul, all of them are their own person in their own right. As Helen slowly unveils the secrets to her pasts and the mystery surrounding her mother, she is thrown into a web of betrayal, unrequited love, cruel reality and hope. It was fascinating to follow the different leads that inevitably accumulate in tragic events that shaped the future and curse of Helen forever. It was even more interesting to see how the different side characters have evolved over time, uncovering the different layers to them which at times really surprised me.
I love how the author was able to lead the characters through different times and locations — from late 1890s Paris to 1930s Hollywood, to 1970s LA to present D.C. — the reader is instantly wrapped into the richness of history and the author’s love for details. There is so much charm in every single page and I love how each time epoch read like a single story, yet every story is also connected back with present-day Helen. It was like a quick rewind through history, and with the nostalgic and almost melancholic, at times unexpectantly hilarious writing style, I slowly grew to love the world the author has created.
I expected the story to be much more fantasy-heavy but it was the star-crossed element to the book that was the soul of the story— a bittersweet tragic love story with people that are cursed to experience losses over and over again. It’s a story about trust and friendship and what can happen if you test fate.
It would be a lie to say that I weren’t blown away by the ending. It was neither predictable nor kitschy and instead gave the reader just the right amount of hope and sweetness. I’m so glad the book had an epilogue — I don’t think I could’ve slept the next few days if we didn’t get to see the last peek at Helen’s future. One of the most unexpected reads that I’ve grown to love during social distancing!
Btw, I cried about 5 times while reading the book and that’s even a high for me as an emotional reader
5/5 stars // 88%