A Secret History of Witches Summary & Study Guide

Louisa Morgan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 68 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Secret History of Witches.
This section contains 519 words
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A Secret History of Witches Summary & Study Guide Description

A Secret History of Witches Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide: Morgan, Louisa. A Secret History of Witches. Redhook, 2017.

A Secret History of Witches follows one clan of witches for more than 100 years as they pass down their beliefs and rituals from mother to daughter. In the novel, Louisa Morgan delves into the lives of five female members of the Orchiere clan, all of whom have inherited the power of the craft. The women's attempts to avoid persecution and to keep the craft alive and secret comprises most of the plot lines in the novel.

The novel opens in 1821 in France as a group of townspeople are persecuting the Orchieres, who are identified as gypsies and witches. The matriarch of the family, Ursule Orchiere, uses her considerable power to hide her family. Then she dies. She leaves her family with a vision of a farmhouse at the top of a cliff where she says they must move. The first section of the novel, The Book of Nanette, tells the story of Ursule's granddaughter Nanette as she discovers her power, combats witch-hunting priests and then has a daughter out of wedlock. She names her daughter Ursule after her grandmother. The family moves to Orchard Farm, which overlooks a cliff in Cornwall, England.

The second section of the novel narrates the story of Ursule, who is initially skeptical of the craft but intensely connected to nature and animals. Ursule marries a villager who helps around the farm, but he eventually turns on her and her mother. Ursule begins to believe in the craft when she wants to have a child but cannot conceive. Ursule and her mother, Nanette, uses spells to bring a traveling musician to the village. Ursule sleeps with him and then uses a spell to get her husband to sleep with her. After this, her husband accuses her and her mother of being witches and a mob throws Nanette off a cliff. Ursule flees atop a giant silver horse named Aramis.

The Book of Irene begins in 1886 with Ursule's daughter, Irene. Irene feels bitter that they are common laborers on a large estate and attempts to use her power to better her station in life. She tricks a gentleman into marrying her, moves away and becomes a lady, but she is not happy. Her husband also accuses her of being a witch after he discovers the grimoire, the women's ancient book of spells and recipes. The fourth section of the book takes up with the story of Irene's daughter, Morwen. Morwen runs away from her family's estate when she learns her father wants to marry her to an elderly gentleman. She eventually chooses the man she wants to marry and dies giving birth to her child, Veronica.

The final section of the novel, The Book of Veronica, begins just before WWII starts in England and depicts Veronica working with the Queen of England, who is also a witch, to help defeat Nazi Germany. Veronica cures a French soldier who she later marries. The novel ends as they are trying to have a child.

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