Conjure Women by Afia Atakora


This is a very emotional read. I found myself gasping at the cruelty inflicted by one human on another. The cruelties are on many levels, physical, emotional and spiritual.

The story revolves around Rue, herself a victim on multiple layers and how she works through the most awful times of the American civil war.

The novel started well with an introduction to Rue and her role in society of the day.

Then we are brought back to slavery times.

For me there was too much switching between times. As a reader I can cope with assorted timelines if the characters are limited in numbers. In this story there is a full society with roles for so many characters that the centre of the novel was crowded and disjointed. Then there is the whole aspect of magic and cures, suspicion and faith, reality and perception.

The climax of the story makes it all worthwhile. In a moment of clarity Rue finds truth and is able to fulfil her role as a healer.

I can recommend this book as a valuable insight to the strength of the women who survived those terrible times.

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