Today sees the publication of the 20th anniversary edition of Witch Child by Celia Rees, as well as its sequel, Sorceress.
I don’t know where to start. There is no review on Bookwitch, because the books seriously predate her appearance in the book world. But the thing is, these books, and Witch Child especially, have loomed so large for so many years in this witch’s life. (I think you can assume I ‘quite liked’ them.)
Celia Rees herself, has always been a formidable force in the world of YA, as far as I’m concerned. She occasionally goes all modest and reckons no one will remember her old books (except me). But they must! They should!
Searching to see what I have written about Witch Child, I discovered an old post where Daughter was in a bookshop, desperately wanting to urge the mother with the daughter to let her buy the book, seeing as the girl had picked it off the shelf in what seemed a meaningful way. But no, mum did not allow it, and this mum’s daughter was too polite to burst in between perfect strangers.
What could it be the mum didn’t like? I’m guessing there are more strong feelings around, still, regarding the burning of women as witches hundreds of years ago. But that’s why you should read this book! It’s important, as well as tremendously good entertainment. And Sorceress continues this vein of importance, looking at the way women and girls have been treated over the centuries.
Unusually for anniversary editions the publishers have kept the original covers (which I gather were always considered successful), and added some gold, just to celebrate.
As for this witch, I will always put Celia and her books on the top rung of YA. The best books are not always those published in the last few months.