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Author: Emilia Hart

Category: Early Bird , Fiction , Historical fiction , Previous Pick Featured (Book Post) , Previous Picks (Book Post)

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 9780008499099

RRP: $$32.99


4.4 19 votes
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KATE, 2019
Kate flees London – and her abusive partner – for Cumbria and Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great-aunt. There, a secret lurks in the bones of the house, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

VIOLET, 1942
Violet is more interested in collecting insects and climbing trees than in becoming a proper young lady. Until a chain of shocking events changes her life forever.

ALTHA, 1619
Altha is on trial for witchcraft, accused of killing a local man. Known for her uncanny connection with nature and animals, she is a threat that must be eliminated …

‘Relevant, empowering and brilliantly written… I just love it!’ JOANNA CANNON, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

‘An absolute beauty… a riveting page turner for wild women everywhere’ JULIE OWEN MOYLAN, author of That Green Eyed Girl

‘Beautifully written and intricate as a spider’s web’ SUNYI DEAN, author of The Book Eaters

‘A brave and original debut – spellbinding’ SARAH PENNER, author of The Lost Apothecary

‘Beguiling, absorbing and exquisitely-rendered’ LIZZIE POOK, author of Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter


Emilia Hart’s Letter to Good Reading Book Posters

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Casanda, Early Bird Reader
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This is not the genre of book I usually read and may well have passed it by. Lucky for me, that it was literally put into my hands! From the first chapter, I loved this book! 

The book threads the storylines of three women – Kate, Violet and Altha – all of the same family, Weyward. The three women lived in different times, but have a commonality to being attune to the natural world. The book shows what these three women have had to endure at the hands of men in their differing times.

The stories build pace so much, that I found it hard to put down, just needing to know just what is going to happen to each character next! The three storylines being woven together so beautifully was captivating!

I just don’t want to pigeonhole this to being historical fiction with a touch of witchcraft and magic. It is so much more! I love that each character can build strength purely from learning who they are and all they can be. 

I cannot speak highly enough about Emilia Hart’s debut novel Weyward, and if like me, you stick to your well trodden genres. Live a little, you may unearth some gold. 

Georgina, Early Bird Reader, Subiaco WA
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Emily Hart’s beautifully written tale, Weyward, is captivating and challenging. From the outset the reader’s attention is piqued with the author’s reference to the Weyward Sisters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. These sisters/witches conjure up images of the supernatural, women with extraordinary gifts, darkness and oppression. Against the backdrop of the charming, but potentially foreboding, English countryside we are introduced to the novel’s three female protagonists; Altha, Violet and Kate. Although their stories span five centuries these stories are inextricably linked. Each character has strong connections, understanding, knowledge and empathy with the plants and animals of the natural world; gifts which give them special powers and which set them apart from norms dominated by male values and attitudes. As the narrative unfolds, with glimpses into the horrors of the 17 Century witch-hunts experienced by Altha, we learn these three women are related. Each one, with support from the natural world, has to battle male oppression before they can carve their niche in the world. To me the collision of nature’s powers and feminism is a highlight of this mesmerising book. A fantastic and unputdownable read!

Richard, Early Bird Reader
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This is a very surprising debut novel as there’s none of the clunkiness or strange word choices that one often sees in a first-time writer. Emilia Hart’s characters all seemed distinct, clear personalities with their own voices and stories to tell. 

The prose is simplistic which made for a very quick read – I read it cover to cover in an afternoon but it was always compelling and, after a couple of the alternating point of view chapters, I was thoroughly engrossed and carried along by the momentum.
I wouldn’t have said magical realism was my genre of choice but this was a great example with the characters and their innate connection to nature being well balanced with their day to day real lives. Just a touch of supernature in each of the three characters’ stories made for some great and compelling drama and by the end I was heavily invested in all three.

I think it’s a testament to the strength of the writing that I wanted to spend more time with all these characters as well as some of the secondary characters and I would definitely be interested in another novel featuring Violet’s supporting cast. I found the overbearing male characters to be a bit one-note (Violet’s father and cousin and Kate’s abusive husband) but they need to play the role the story required and there are only so many pages.

Great, eminently readable story and an extremely promising debut.

Gavin, Early Bird Reader
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Weyward is a beautifully written novel, three women are the main characters;
1916 we meet Altha Weyward who is sent to trial as a witch.
1942 Violet Ayres is a young girl whose mother has passed away years ago her mother’s maiden name was Weyward.
2019 Kate Ayres is in an abusive marriage which she escapes to Weyward Cottage which she has inherited from the great aunt Violet

The three women are all strong and all have a gift with nature from the earth to animals plants and birds. For a debut novel this is a brilliant book easy to read and follow.

Congratulations to the author Emilia Hart.

Malvina, Early Bird Reader, Miranda NSW
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The book is told as a triple POV: 
1. Altha, from the early 1600s, and her trial for witchcraft. She is a powerful, healing Weyward woman (also previously called ‘Weird’ by Shakespeare in plays like Macbeth), and she and her mother have tried hard all their lives to avoid suspicion/accidentally turning public opinion against themselves by overstepping, for example, the doctor or the priest. In the end it fails with a chilling and dark nod to superstition and biased opinion by powerful men (usually) – and ends up in Altha’s trial. Horrifying.
2. Violet, from 1942. A person who discovers she is also a Weyward woman, with that special Weyward power running through her. Isolated by her father until something momentous occurs and she is outcast, it’s the story of how she comes into her own.
3. Kate, from 2019, a victim of domestic violence, who also discovers she’s a Weyward woman when she moves into her great-aunt Violet’s house.

The chapters are short, following the unfolding story of each of these women, each in great jeopardy. Usually ending in a cliff-hanger of sorts, the chapters lure you on to read ‘just one more, maybe just another one, okay, one final chapter before I turn the light out’…we’ve all been there with our reading. As the peril for each woman mounts the storyline increases in pace, and the book becomes impossible to put down.

The touch of magical realism was gentle at first, then whipped up in power before the end of the book. It adds mysticism and drama to the book.

Overall, a great read, very compelling. Loved it.

Fran, Early Bird Reader, Berwick VIC
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Weyward is a  spell binding novel of Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction and Magical Realism. A story told from a women’s perspective covering the hardships of Altha trailed as a witch for a murder in her village 1619, Violet raped in 1942 and then disowned, and Kate Violet’s niece escaping domestic violence in current times. They are  Weward women, strong female characters with a special connection to nature and magic. I enjoyed the different time periods and perspectives of each protagonist, how much they endured and courageously how they embraced their gifts to live authentically and in their feminine power. I also loved the twists in each of the women’s story, revenge or justice the reader decides. The story was very engaging , I just had to keep reading. I loved Maude the crow who sat on Altha’s mothers shoulder, Violet with her spider under the bed, and Kate discovering who she was. 

Thank you to Good Reading Magazine for giving me the opportunity to read this advance copy. As a lover of Historical Fiction and Magical Realism it was a delightful book to read.

Judy, Early Bird Reader
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What a magical page turning book. Weyward kept me enthralled from beginning to end, haven’t enjoyed a book so much for a long while.

It revolves around the lives of three Weyward women, from the 1600’s to today.
How their lives were intertwined through the ages. The strength that they all found to overcome being classed as “different” by society.

The power of women shines through, they all break free from the controlling men in their lives and live rewarding lives.

A unforgettable book that I highly recommend.

Alana, Early Bird Reader, Wagga Wagga NSW
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I thoroughly enjoyed Weyward by Emilia Hart. Not unlike the shimmering spiders in the novel, the author deftly weaves a web through the lives of the Weyward women across different time periods. Although their stories occur at different times throughout history, these three women related by blood are facing similar struggles concerning their place in the world, specifically as females. The problems they face will be familiar to women everywhere, and it is empowering to watch these wild women find their way.

It is beautifully written, with its excellent lead characters’ connection to nature explored in wonderful descriptions of the surrounding setting, including an array of insects and birds whose importance becomes clear throughout the book.  It is engaging and well-paced and I practically devoured this book in one sitting. This an outstanding debut novel and I will definitely be checking out anything Emilia Hart releases in the future.

Susan, Early Bird Reader, Jamboree Heights QLD
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Sometimes, beyond the ties that bind lie things passed down through generations, inheritances of sort that carry no monetary value. Weyward introduces us to three beneficiaries of such an inheritance. Altha, Violet and Kate are separated chronologically but also deliberately by what society across generations deems ‘normal’ behaviour. The novel unfolds in chapters prescribed to either Altha, Violet or Kate, each of whom discovers their inheritance in different ways, sometimes subtly, sometimes violently. Never was I relieved to move chapters to an alternate character, but page by page, excited to return to either Altha, Violet or Kate’s existence and ultimately, to the cataclysmic way that the three women’s lives intertwine. 

The novel is very different, not difficult to read but unmistakably difficult to put down. I lost time not wanting to leave what became for me a world unto itself – one I’d happily immerse myself in again! Weyward is defined by strong female leads, who grow stronger as they discover and accept their familial inheritance and strength. It’s empowering and transformative. Incredible to know it’s a debut novel. 

Pauline, Early Bird Reader, Wangaratta VIC
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The story concerns a crucial year in the lives of three generations of women from the same family; Altha in 1619, Violet in 1942 and Kate in the present day. All are trapped in various ways, Altha, on trial for witchcraft, Violet, living a narrow, loveless existence, confined by an autocratic father, and Kate, fleeing a controlling and abusinve partner.

Each of them has inherited a secret power, which is revealed as the story unfolds.
I enjoyed the growing suspense as dramatic events in each life move towards a satisfying climax.

Caitlin, Early Bird Reader, Cherrybrook NSW
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Emilia Hart smoothly intersects the lives of 3 women across different time periods – 1619, 2019 and 1942. The women are connected both by their family tree and by their uniqueness when compared to the women around them. Altha, Kate and Violet have another connection. Men who want to control, judge and censure them. It must be said that there are also ‘worthy’ male characters in the novel. All three women have an affinity to nature, the consequences of which they fight against and then learn to cherish in time. Emilia weaves their stories through seamlessly, so that you care about each of them as much as the others. As a reader, it was possible to feel entirely present with each woman as the novel moved forwards and backwards through time and characters. The writing style made me feel just as drawn towards and engrossed in each one of their stories, rather than leaving a sense of loss from having moved away from that storyline for a while. The novel was well paced. It didn’t shy away from difficult emotions or events; however left the reader satisfied. As the saying goes…..revenge is sweet. 

Tamsin, Early Bird Reader, Hobart TAS
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Emilia Hart’s debut novel Weyward, is an absolute cracker and is rightly being hyped as a must-read for 2023. 

The story is told from the point of view of three women over three different time periods, who all share a familial link. It covers everything from witchcraft, rape, murder and childbirth and casts a searing gaze over the relationships between women, the men in their lives and their matriarchal relationships. But don’t be put off by the dark subject matter. 

I found this to be an easy read but fast-paced enough to keep me engaged. I enjoyed the stories of female power, the sense of magic, the descriptions of nature, animals and the environment and the strange sense of familiarity blended with mystery. This novel will be enjoyed by many. 

Madison, Early Bird Reader, Port Augusta SA
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When I entered this book on good reading magazine I was intrigued by the plot but I started this book also not knowing what to expect, I love witches I just don’t read much fiction about them. 

This book had such beautiful writing from the start and I was captivated by Altha, Kate & Violet’s individual stories and timelines instantly. I also loved that the history of witchcraft in this wasn’t fabricated it is all based on real history in ways, stuff that really used to happen and it also connected with the modern day.  

I really connected with the writing in this book it made me feel for these women and reading 3 different stories from different generations and eras of Weyward women really completed the story.

It was beautiful to read about all 3 women discovering and healing themselves and learning things about their family history. 

Elva, Early Bird Reader, Pittsworth QLD
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Three women. Three different time frames. All three women have a deep connection with nature and all are considered different, or weird or possibly a witch.

Altha lived in the 17th century and was accused of murdering a neighbour. Violet lived in the mid 1900’s. Her father ruled with an iron fist and refused to tell her anything about her mother who died when she was small. Present day Kate is pregnant and escapes from her abusive husband, Simon, in London, to live in Cumbria in a cottage she inherited the year before from her great aunt Violet. Luckily she had kept this inheritance a secret from Simon so he had no way to trace her.  

We learn the three women’s stories via alternating chapters – their individual battles with their respective patriarchs and how their lives were connected. Kate’s story is the most comprehensive as her connection to Altha and Violet has to be revealed.

All three characters were well drawn and their stories equally absorbing. This is a great debut from Emilia Hart and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Margaret, Early Bird Reader, Windsor Qld
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Do you enjoy a book written across different times?

The characters are three very different woman, each with complex issues, but there is a thread that links them.

Weyward by Emilia Hart had me in its grasp from the opening pages.
You’ll meet – Althea circa 1619, Violet circa 1942, Kate circa 2018.

What is the thread that links them? 

They each have problems. They each have to draw on inner strengths to find resolutions. And circling all the time is the mystery of ‘Weywood’. 
Emilia Hart’s ability to weave the strands together is commendable. Can’t wait to see what she will write next.

I can see myself reading this again at some stage. 

Mel, Early Bird Reader
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Weyward by Emilia Hart is a journey through time from 1619 – 2009 and the lives of three different women who all find it difficult to fit in. Why is that? Weyward was an incredible book told through the eyes of three related women from three very different time periods. Each character was extremely well written and likeable and their stories each created such different experiences and atmospheres which made the entire book very difficult to put down! Definitely recommend!

Sam, Early Bird Reader
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Loved this book.

Great holiday read transporting you easily to different eras in history.

I was hesitant as sometimes stories that dip in and out of different time periods can get confusing and muddled, but I needn’t have worried. It was clearly defined from the get go and took no time in getting me into the depths of each generation so I felt as though I was there.

Heavy topics of domestic violence through the generations could have easily weighed the story down, but with each page turned it gave you hope, strength and a sense of moralistic and family values passed through from women to women. Easily relative in any period of time.

Believable and not at all fantasised, each women had her own part to play in the storyline of the family and even though they were very different the strong link and morals shone through.

Easy to pick up and come back to if you like to read in chunks or a sit and read in one go.

I’m very interested to keep and eye on this author and see what depths she can reach and different topics she can explore.

Sonia, Early Bird Reader
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Interesting and thought provoking, and enjoyable reading.

Three women linked in time by both their ancestry and abilities. Explores what it is to be and feel differently.

1619 Althea tries to mitigate the harshness of life with her abilities.
1942 Violet, privileged but unloved is deceived, and eventually is able to extract her revenge.
2019 Kate is little more than a trophy in an abusive relationship, until she decides to escape.

Each woman is trapped by her circumstance, but defiantly refuses to give in. There is a gentleness about the book.

Although the women do use their powers, I would have preferred them to be more reactive.

Kerry, Book Post Subscriber
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Mail arrived. The brown paper package held, hopefully!! The next good read. 

Days passed. I needed to finish reading my library Book Club book. No sidetracking. I left the solitary entombed book on my work bench – imagining what book was hidden in its confine. Then …


Surprise. Weyward was revealed and what a wonderful read. Page turner. Historical fiction – my favourite – so difficult to put down.


For Emilia Hart, Weyward was a triumph after all her personal issues. Working across centuries and tracking through Altha, Violet and Kate – dove-tailing them beautifully with a unique conclusion.The descriptions of the insects and birds reveal the reality of the time – but with a splash of fantasy to ‘spin out’ the reader.


For me this has been the best Book Post read. I look forward to the next Book Post read!


Kerry – Book Post subscriber

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