Wednesday 14 March 2018

Book Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Last Updated: 18 July 2021

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather book cover

AD* | It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern-day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts, is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the centre of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

I was so stoked to receive a copy of this book to review - I mean, it has all my favourite elements all rolled up into one tempting read, so what's not to love? Young Adult, paranormal, historical influences, twists, turns and a dash of romance... it's almost as though this book was made from a recipe of all my own fictional favourites.

How to Hang a Witch follows the story of Sam, an NYC girl who finds she has some pretty major family history to live up to. Of course, everyone has heard of the Salem Witch Trials, but I have to admit that I was not particularly clued up about the real-life historical happenings. I didn't even know who Cotton Mather was, and at the mention of Increase Mather, I had to turn to Google to sort the facts from the fiction and satisfy my disbelief that anyone would be called 'Increase' (turns out, Increase Mather was indeed a real person).

Aside from the gripping story and nail-biting twists and turns, what made this book extra special for me was the author's personal connection with the tale. Author Adriana Mather is, in fact, a descendant of Cotton Mather - a unique claim to fame and one which must have undeniably put her in good stead during the writing process. I love discovering books and authors with quirky connections like this and the knowledge only made me fall in love with the story even more!

I found myself hooked on the tale right from the very start - I had to read on to find out what happened; this is definitely one of those unputdownable books. How to Hang a Witch is fast-paced and exhilarating, a wild ride that is certainly not for the faint-hearted!

An enjoyable read and a great fusion of historical facts and contemporary fiction, How to Hang a Witch is more than worthy of a spot on your tbr pile in 2018.

Rating: 4 stars

How to Hang a Witch is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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