Halloween is on the horizon, and if that fact makes you want to hunt for witches — in books, that is — look no further. Check out our vast selection of witchy tales below, including each book’s publishers’ description. There’s truly something for everyone in these stories of magic, mischief, and mystery.
Tales of fiction rooted in the witch hunts of the 1600s.
Witch Child by Celia Rees
1659. A time of fear and persecution. Mary, granddaughter of a witch, keeps a diary. It begins: I am Mary. I am a witch…
She sees her grandmother hanged, is rescued by a stranger, takes ship for America and finds a place in a Puritan community there. All that befalls her, she records in her diary and as she writes, she stitches the pages inside a quilt for discovery would mean death. The quilt lies undisturbed for more than three hundred years. Then, during the process of conservation, the diary is discovered. Her story can be told.
The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is 384 years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches. A tale of magic and love and loss. A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be. Let me tell you what it means to be a witch.
In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She could not have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Salem, Massachusetts, 1681. Fear and suspicion lead a small town to unspeakable acts. Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1991. A young woman is about to discover that she is tied to Salem in ways she never imagined.
Books about “normal” witches
These witches have tried to make a “normal” life for themselves. But they just can’t shake the magic.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures. A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants — from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor.
Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys — except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before. When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down — along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy — if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom — or with each other.
Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts
When Nell Channing arrives on charming Three Sisters Island, she believes that she’s finally found refuge from her abusive husband — and from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago… But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease. Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore café — and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. But there is a part of herself she can never reveal to him — for she must continue to guard her secrets if she wants to keep the past at bay. One careless word, one misplaced confidence, and the new life she’s created so carefully could shatter completely. Just as Nell starts to wonder if she’ll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realizes that the island suffers under a terrible curse — one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692. And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women — and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step — she must find the power to save her home, her love… and herself…
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
For more than 200 years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally endured that fate: As children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their darkened house and their love concoctions and their crowd of black cats. All Gillian and Sally wanted to do was escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back to each other, and to the magic they couldn’t escape.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches.
Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There’s nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma’s stories — but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries — and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series — with an extra serving of historical realism.
Books about teenage witches
All the usual teenage angst with a healthy dose of witchcraft.
Bras & Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
What if all your wishes could come true? Blink your eyes, drink a fizzing pink potion, and poof! Life is perfect. That’s Rachel’s situation. Except she’s not the one who suddenly has magical powers. Her younger sister is. And as Rachel would tell you, spellbooks are wasted on the young!
Yes, yes, of course world peace and cures for horrible diseases are important. But so is dancing without looking like she’s being electrocuted, winning back her best friend, stopping her dad’s wedding, and finding a date for Spring Fling.
Rachel’s not bewitched. Yet…
The Secret Circle by L. J. Smith
The Circle’s power has lured her home.
Forced to move from sunny California to gloomy New England, Cassie longs for her old life. Even so, she feels a strange kinship to a terrifying group of teens who seem to rule her school. Initiated into the coven of witches that’s controlled New Salem for hundreds of years, she’s drawn into the Secret Circle, a thrill that’s both intoxicating and deadly. But when she falls for the mysterious and intriguing Adam, Cassie must choose whether to resist temptation or risk dark forces to get what she wants — even if it means that one wrong move could ultimately destroy her.
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father — an elusive European warlock — only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, aka witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin’s magic never showed up. Now 17, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search — and the stranger — will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all.
Wicked: Witch & Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié
Holly Cathers’s world shatters when her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Wrenched from her home in San Francisco, she is sent to Seattle to live with her relatives, Aunt Marie-Claire and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole.
In her new home, Holly’s sorrow and grief soon give way to bewilderment at the strange incidents going on around her. Such as how any wish she whispers to her cat seems to come true. Or the way a friend is injured after a freak attack from a vicious falcon. And there’s the undeniable, magnetic attraction to a boy Holly barely knows.
Holly, Amanda, and Nicole are about to be launched into a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient magics yield dangerous results. The girls will assume their roles in an intergenerational feud beyond their wildest imaginations… and in doing so, will attempt to fulfill their shared destiny.
Books about witches in faraway lands
These novels fulfill our greatest fantasies about witches.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl — and herself — than first meets the eye.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria — even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie — where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous — in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.
In Equal Rites, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late.
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire’s breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn’t nearly as Wicked as we imagined.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows — everyone knows — that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
Books about witches fighting evil
Not all witches are bad! These witches break that stereotype.
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking… and The Witching Hour begins.
It begins in our time with a rescue at sea. Rowan Mayfair, a beautiful woman, a brilliant practitioner of neurosurgery — aware that she has special powers but unaware that she comes from an ancient line of witches — finds the drowned body of a man off the coast of California and brings him to life. He is Michael Curry, who was born in New Orleans and orphaned in childhood by fire on Christmas Eve, who pulled himself up from poverty, and who now, in his brief interval of death, has acquired a sensory power that mystifies and frightens him.
As these two, fiercely drawn to each other, fall in love and — in passionate alliance — set out to solve the mystery of her past and his unwelcome gift, the novel moves backward and forward in time from today’s New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and a château in the France of Louis XIV. An intricate tale of evil unfolds — an evil unleashed in 17th-century Scotland, where the first “witch,” Suzanne of the Mayfair, conjures up the spirit she names Lasher… a creation that spells her own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn.
From the coffee plantations of Port au Prince, where the great Mayfair fortune is made and the legacy of their dark power is almost destroyed, to Civil War New Orleans, as Julien — the clan’s only male to be endowed with occult powers — provides for the dynasty its foothold in America, the dark, luminous story encompasses dramas of seduction and death, episodes of tenderness and healing. And always — through peril and escape, tension and release — there swirl around us the echoes of eternal war: innocence versus the corruption of the spirit, sanity against madness, life against death. With a dreamlike power, the novel draws us, through circuitous, twilight paths, to the present and Rowan’s increasingly inspired and risky moves in the merciless game that binds her to her heritage. And in New Orleans, on Christmas Eve, this strangest of family sagas is brought to its startling climax.
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
The three Beauchamp women — Joanna and her daughters, Freya and Ingrid — live ordinary lives in mist-shrouded North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. All three are harboring a centuries-old secret: They are powerful witches forbidden to practice magic. But right before Freya’s planned wedding to wealthy Bran Gardiner, a mysterious and attractive man arrives in town and makes Freya question everything. When a young woman turns up dead, it soon becomes clear to all three that it’s time to dust off their wands and fight the dark forces working against them.
Forbidden Magic by Cheyenne McCray
D’Anu witch Silver Ashcroft knows she walks a perilous line by practicing gray magic. But it’s the only way to protect herself from the evil that surrounds her. After the horrors she has witnessed, Silver thinks she is ready for anything…until the most intensely arousing being she has ever encountered swiftly — and sensuously — proves her wrong…
Hawk is a Tuatha D’Danann warrior — powerful beings descended from the Fae. And for him duty has always come before pleasure. Then, clad only in moonlight, Silver Ashcroft welcomes him to her city of San Francisco and makes his blood sing with a passion beyond compare. She is the embodiment of fantasies he never knew he had, but the terrifying reality of his mission lurks in every shadow…
Only the strongest will survive the upcoming battle, and the forces of darkness are more powerful than ever. Now, warrior and witch must trust in their hearts above all else — for to claim victory, they first must claim each other…
Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they’d never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents — and maybe the world?
Which ones have you read? Tell us in the comments!
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