“The strongest alliances you will ever have in your life will be with the women you choose as your family.”
August 23, 2022
Dear Book Family,
One of my favorite authors of all time has a new book out in the world today. Bianca Marais is back, and this time, she brilliantly meshes present-day themes of race, gender, women’s rights, and sexual identity with a spellbinding flair in her brand new magical tale, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. It is time to hop on a souped-up Harley Davidsonstick and fly on over to Moonshyne Manor & Distillery to meet some of my new favorite characters who are not only fierce friends but WITCHES too. Being described as The Golden Girls meets Practical Magical, Queenie, Ursula, Jezebel, Tabitha, Ivy, and Ruby are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s not forget about Widget and Persephone too. These characters are MY PEOPLE!
So here is what’s brewing in the cauldron. The witches are trying to save Moonshyne Manor & Distillery from a reckoning ball that threatens to end its existence. As they devise a plan to save their home, we get an inside look into what their lives are really like living as modern-day witches. Now here is the fun stuff. There are potions, rituals, and cocktails to keep things mystical. But more importantly, there is FIGHTING THE PATRIARCH. The witches are some badass feminists, so If you are hoping for some form of high-stakes heist or perhaps a magical wand or two all in the hands of some powerful women, you will be a delighted reader.
To say I am obsessed with this book and these colorful characters is an understatement. Marais writes friendship and aging with grace and humor that had me cackling like a witch. I was utterly blown away by the exquisite details of enchantresses at their finest and sorcery galore. The action-packed scenes that fill the pages are wild and sparkly and will have you on the edge of your broomstick, while the deep-rooted friendships will tug on your tender heartstrings.
The Witches of Moonshyne Mannor is everything I dreamed it would be. I genuinely want to be a witch and hang with this crew! Please make this book happen!
Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.
Happy Reading, Everyone!
P.S. Be sure to check out ALL THINGS BIANCA MARAIS down below.
Having been born and raised in South Africa, Marais writes about her home country with clarity and ease. She skillfully sets the scene for her historical drama by cleverly intertwining her two main characters in a fashion that highlights the diverse languages and rich cultures of South Africa. Marais’ book highlights the racial issues and injustices during the Apartheid era. She also looks deeper at Robin’s significant loss and what grieving and coping skills look like for her living under these circumstances. Marais paints a picture of a young girl fearful of losing the people around her and desperately seeking love and security during uncertain times. What I truly love about this book is how authentic these main characters are. There is no doubt that their point of view significantly contributes to the depth of this story. Where Robin’s interpretations and narratives have a flare of childish innocence, and at times even humor, Beauty’s account is overflowing with cutthroat determination and motherly love. Together they bring readers into a world where equality isn’t in fashion, but family love always holds true. I feel confident that readers will devour this glorious novel with great passion and love………….just as I did.
Marais’ story is set in South Africa post-Apartheid during the 1990s. With Nelson Mandela about to be elected and the AIDS epidemic rising, the backdrop of Marais’ novel is intense. Her book follows three different characters in alternating chapters. Zodwa is a seventeen-year-old black girl living in poverty. Not only is she eight months pregnant and caring for her dying mother, but she also is carrying a very unsettling secret. Ruth and Delilah are two estranged middle-aged sisters who reunite unexpectedly at their family’s old home. Delilah is a former nun whose past continues to haunt her. Ruth, in the process of a divorce, is trying to figure out her new life. While the sisters are sorting out the details of their family home and individual baggage, they are surprised one evening when a newborn black baby is left on their doorstep. The story gradually unfolds with Marais delicately revealing how these three women’s lives are connected and eventually come together. She tackles many sensitive subjects, including corruption in the church, racism, AIDS, and homophobia, while shining light on the political atmosphere of South Africa at that time. Be prepared to have your heart strings pulled in all different directions while reading this book. The characters will melt your heart and water your eyes. For a bonus, fans of Marais’ Hum If You Don’t Know The Words will be surprised at the cameo appearances in her story. I hope you enjoy this read. It is truly a beautiful story.
Talk about FRESH! This time, Marais is not writing about South Africa, the Apartheid, or the Soweto Uprising. Instead, she wowed me with a short story offered as an Audible Original. The Prynne Viper is a futuristic tale (yes, you heard me correctly) that left me thinking long and hard about the fate of humanity if left in the hands of some crazy predictive software. I was transfixed by this terrifying world, and the idea that mankind could be predetermined by a courtroom jury haunted me for days. Don’t let the length of this story fool you, though. Marais’ magnificent storytelling, the entire cast of narrators, and an immensely satisfying ending all neatly fit into a unique two-hour listen. Marais’ ability to switch writing gears by seamlessly transitioning to a completely different genre was wicked impressive, and she will forever be an auto-buy author for me.
Did you know Marais co-hosts an incredible podcast with literary agents Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra from P.S. Literary Agency called The Shit No One Tells You About Writing? I listen to this weekly and look forward to all the writing topics explored. Character development, moving the plot forward, creating suspense, writing solid dialogue, and query letter critiques fill my ears with greatness. Marais’ guests are top-notch authors and professionals in the literary field, and I consider this podcast an excellent resource for new and experienced writers alike. I guarantee your writing will not only improve from listening to this but that you will learn a gazillion things along the way.
Did you know Bianca Marais was one of the first guest writers on Dear Mr. Hemingway? Be sure to read her letter above to the big guy. Not only does she share an incredible and diverse book, but she also has a few things to say to Hemingway that couldn’t be more on point. Can you say BADASS WOMAN??? Just like her witches!!!!
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*I received an advance copy of The Witches of Moonshyne Manor from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are 100% my own. If I don’t like it…I don’t share it!