Connie Goodwin is an expert on America’s fractured past with witchcraft. A young, tenure-track professor in Boston, she’s earned career success by studying the history of magic in colonial America—especially women’s home recipes and medicines—and by exposing society’s threats against women fluent in those skills. But beyond her studies, Connie harbors a secret: She is the direct descendant of a woman tried as a witch in Salem, an ancestor whose abilities were far more magical than the historical record shows.
When a hint from her mother and clues from her research lead Connie to the shocking realization that her partner’s life is in danger, she must race to solve the mystery behind a hundreds’-years-long deadly curse.
Flashing back through American history to the lives of certain supernaturally gifted women, The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs affectingly reveals not only the special bond that unites one particular matriarchal line, but also explores the many challenges to women’s survival across the decades—and the risks some women are forced to take to protect what they love most.
The Bottom Line: I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did and I can only pinpoint one element which kept me from truly loving a book that is generally right up my alley. Here’s my issue: the paranormal elements don’t feel at all like they fit with the rest of the story. I feel like this book is two books, one historical fiction and one paranormal, squished together for a poor fit. Any historical fiction related to witches and the Salem Witch Trials is going to be able to stand alone for many readers so adding the paranormal elements to this particular story didn’t feel either needed or necessary. What’s more, I found Connie to be the least likeable of all the characters which left me struggling to root for her. I did like Sam, Grace, and Zazi a whole lot and feel like they really kept the story moving more than Connie did: Sam is a kind soul, Zazi is a firecracker, and Grace is just the right amount of hippie. I also enjoyed the explanations of the time period and the magic and how the past dramatically impacted the present. If it weren’t for the wonkily (that’s a technical term) added paranormal elements, I think I would have felt much differently about this book and been able to assign it a much higher star rating.