by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Green Witch / 978-0-545-14195-6
A direct sequel to "Green Angel", this novel is that most rare and lovely of sequels - one that makes you appreciate the first all the more. Whereas "Green Angel" explored the deep themes of pain, loss, and rebirth in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, "Green Witch" explores the growth and renewal that can take place after that rebirth has occurred.
In the same dreamy, magical realism tone employed in the first novel, the titular character Green travels through the world around her, hoping to pick up the pieces. As she learns the stories of the townsfolk, she learns of others like her - strange women who have been burned by the tragedy and who are now whispered to be witches. Green travels to each woman in turn, hoping to learn their stories, and seeking for the people that she lost in the first novel - her friend Heather and her true love Diamond. Along the way, Green meets the animals she healed in "Green Angel", and sees them happy and whole again, thanks to her aid and kindness.
Like "Green Angel", this novel will not appeal to everyone. The book is very short - approximately 130 pages - and the brief sentences and repetitive storytelling will allow quick readers to whip through in an hour or two. The sense of magical realism is still present, with Green having her own version of "Fertile Feet" - flowers and vines grow at a tremendous pace in her vicinity, and each of the 'witches' she meets has her own version of magic to show. Fans of the first novel will expect this, of course, but they may not expect the gentle retcons to the previous book: the tragedy that was hinted at having a man-made cause in the first book has now been upgraded to a full-out terrorist attack by religious extremists known as the "Horde", who intend now to complete what they started. Although "Green Witch" still retains a deeply introspective tone, the introspection has now been turned to people other than Green, outside her cottage, in accordance with the new themes of this novel.
If you liked "Green Angel", even just a little bit, "Green Witch" deserves your attention - if anything, it made me like the first novel even more, and it provides a richly deserved conclusion to the story.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.
~ Ana Mardoll
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