Book Review: The Winter Sisters by Tim Westover

The Winter Sisters

Author: Tim Westover

Publication Date: 07 August 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

Pages: 324

Publisher: Qw Publishers

Folklore, medicine, witches, and superstition in the Georgia mountains. Dr. Waycross knows bleeding and blistering, the best scientific medicine of 1822. He arrives in the Georgia mountains to bring his modern methods to the superstitious masses. But the local healers, the Winter sisters, claim to treat yellow fever, consumption, and the hell-roarin’ trots just as well as he can. Some folks call the sisters herb women; some call them witches. Waycross calls them quacks. But when the threat of rabies—incurable and fatal—comes to town, Dr. Waycross and the Winter sisters must combine their science and superstition in a desperate search for a remedy. Can they find a miracle cure, or has the age of miracles passed?

As a scientist, I am always fascinated by the fine line that blurs science and magic in stories; especially historical fiction. For that reason, I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis of The Winter Sisters.

The book takes place in the small town of Lawrenceville in 1822. The Winter sisters have a reputation for being witches. Their family has inhabited Lawrenceville long before the first settlers. They tend to keep to themselves in their home in the forest outside of town, however, the townsfolk are known to pop by when they need a poultice or tonic to rid them of some current ailment.

Dr. Avery Waycross arrives on the scene because the mayor realizes that a doctor is needed in order for the town to qualify for the county seat. Quickly, it becomes clear to Avery that the townsfolk aren’t so keen on seeking his services since everyone assumes that doctors with fancy diplomas just want to cut people open and cut off limbs. No thanks. Unfortunately for Avery, he soon realizes that he has to band together with the sisters if they are to get to the bottom of the mysterious rabies cases that are plaguing the town.

This was a slow-burn mystery that had a dash of magical elements and some humor as well. I found the Winter sisters very intriguing, and I definitely wish we got more of their story line. Avery was the quintessential educated male that thought he couldn’t learn a thing or two, so I appreciated his character’s mindset being challenged as the story progressed.

Thank you to Suzy Approved Book Tours for the tour invite. Thank you to the author for providing a copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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