The Witch Haven – Book Review

The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

Frances is a gifted witch with unique abilities. She is determined to find out what really happened to her brother, regardless of the risk. Frances make not always make the wisest choices, but she has a good heart. She attends a magic school, but one that only allows certain magic to be taught – which Frances feels stifling. There is a great love triangle with a mysterious boy who helps her learn more about the magical world and get closer to finding out what happened with her brother and her brother’s best friend with home she’s always had a crush.

The Witch Haven is a fantastic YA fantasy, full of mystery, magic and drama. This is an impressive debut. The setting of 1911 New York gives it the feel of historical fiction with an exciting, magical twist.

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