By Emilia HarT
In Hart’s book, a crow becomes the symbol of Altha, Violet, and Kate’s connection to nature. The women’s obsidian features match the crow’s glossy dark coloring. The women are not truly happy unless they are surrounded by the nature that is calling to them, particularly the forest. As a result, it is only fitting to feature a recipe for Black Forest Cake. Every part of this cake can be made from scratch, but you can also substitute pre-prepared cherry filling or Cool Whip in order to cut down on the cooking. Check out the recipe (and substitution suggestions) from Lauren’s Latest.
We have all experienced a connection with nature at some point in our lives. This connection usually invokes feelings of peace, reflection, creativity, or a sense of being grounded. However, Emilia Hart’s new book, Weyward, explores a different dynamic that evolves from a person’s connection with nature: Power. At its core, this book is about three women’s journeys to unfurl their hidden strengths and embrace the power that they invoke through their special connection to living things.
Weyward interweaves the stories of three generations of women through a network of physical and sexual abuse. The first character, Altha, is standing trial for witchcraft in the year 1619. John Milburn, the husband of Altha’s childhood friend, Grace, was killed when his cows suddenly trampled him to death. Altha is being accused of causing the cows to go mad. While the trial seems to pit Altha against Grace, there is more background to their story than the village of Crow’s Beck realizes.
The second character is 16-year-old Violet, the daughter of the ninth Viscount Kendall living in Crow’s Beck in the year 1942. Violet has never left Orton Hall, the family’s estate. Her free-spirited ways always land her in trouble with her father and cause people around her to whisper about how she is like her mother. Violet was told her mother died while giving birth to her brother, Graham. However, the arrival of her cousin, Frederick, reveals an entirely different story. Violet is desperately trying to find out information about her mother while dealing with the life-altering events brought on by Frederick’s visit. The fall-out will change her and her brother’s lives forever.
The third character is Kate, a young woman in 2019 desperately trying to escape from her abusive husband, Simon. Kate decides to leave Simon upon discovering that she was pregnant. Kate recently inherited Weyward Cottage from her great-aunt Violet, a relative whom she hardly knew. The remote cottage in Crow’s Beck seems like an ideal place to hide out from Simon as she tries to rebuild her life and discover who she really is. As she begins to dig into her family’s history and discover who Violet really was, she makes a small mistake that could allow Simon to discover her location. Will Kate unravel her family’s secrets before Simon can find her?
Weyward is a perfect mixture of magic and empowerment. It highlights how women have faced similar plights throughout history even as their rights have increased. Physical abuse and undertones of female hysteria exist in all three character arcs. However, all three women use their connection with nature to overcome adversity. Strong women have always existed, even if their stories are not always told. While the story takes a bit of time to develop and intertwine, Weyward is a solid debut novel from Emilia Hart.
My Rating System Explained 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: This was an amazing book, and I can't stop thinking about it. It impacted me emotionally or changed my perspective. My thoughts keep flickering back to it at random times throughout the day. I will absolutely recommend it to my friends or to one of my book clubs. 4 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: This was a really good book. Parts of it stuck with me, and I might mention it in a conversation. There is a high likelihood that I will recommend it to my friends or to one of my book clubs. 3 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️: I liked this book. It allowed me to escape from reality for a while. While I might tell somebody about it if I think it will interest them, I will probably not suggest it to one of my book clubs. 2 Stars ⭐️⭐️: There's something about this book that I didn't like. I wasn't willing to go all the way down to a one-star rating, but I'm definitely not digging it. I may recognize that this book is not for me, but it might be for other people. I will not recommend it to my friends or one of my book clubs. 1 Star ⭐️: My rarest rating. I really didn't like this book. Something in the story line upset me, and I probably "hate-read" the majority of the book. Not only will I not recommend it, but I will actively tell people that I did not like it.