Today, we are going to discuss a book that is beautiful both inside and out: The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin.
Yes, of course we can take a moment to admire and swoon over not only the dust jacket but the cover itself! This book is gorgeous. Inside you’ll also find a story that is heartfelt and soft in all the ways that make it a perfect summer read. But while is The Nature of Witches is beautifully atmospheric and has gorgeous proses that settle over your skin like a shimmer of magic, I want to focus on the craft in this book.
As someone who has just finished their thesis on the craft of writing, specifically on narrative arcs and the three-act structure, I really want to dive into how beautifully The Nature of Witches captures the craft of writing and the joys of reading. Shall we?
My MFA thesis was on narrative structure and how as readers we crave that invisible thread that pulls us along, that gives us hope and sends us to despair. The Nature of Witches is my first post-MFA thesis haze read, and I caught myself drawn into Clara’s emotional journey but also found myself admiring just how beautifully Rachel Griffin wove a thread that hit all of the major points it needed to.
Now, I always promise to be spoiler free, so I won’t go into the exact moments that brilliantly follow the beat of a three-act structure, but I will say every twist was thrilling. As I read and followed Clara’s journey of mastering her magic, I also marveled that while I, as the reader, was still surprised by the events that happened, my MFA brain kicked in and went back to say — oh that made sense as the “Catalyst”, or wow that is how she did “Break into 3”.
You may be staring at this going, Huh? And that’s okay. I spent 5 months studying the three-act structure and narrative arcs. If you’re interested, I highly recommend Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. You don’t have to see the beats or the narrative arc to appreciate The Nature of Witches. That is the magic in excellently executed craftsmanship. Rachel Griffin delicately strings the reader along, building Clara’s emotional arc and satisfying reader’s needs, while offering readers the ups and downs of Clara’s relationship with her magic. All of it is stunning.
Putting craft to the side, The Nature of Witches has a heartbeat filled with sorrow and love, longing and belonging. Clara’s journey speaks to the heart in lyrical prose and stunning atmosphere while showing us the importance of community and learning to trust the ones we love despite the risk it may take.
As my first post-MFA read, I have to say The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin did not disappoint, and I cannot wait to see where her career goes next!
Xo Camille Brea