Review: The Witch Haven (The Witch Haven #1)

Title: The Witch Haven (The Witch Haven #1)
Author: Sasha Peyton Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 31, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?


1911: Frances Hallowell is a seamstress in New York, still mourning her brother after his mysterious death months ago. When she’s attacked one night by her boss, he ends up dead with her scissors in his neck. Before she can be arrested for his murder, she’s whisked away to Haxahaven Sanatarium, which is a school for witches disguised as a tuberculosis sanatarium. Frances learns how to use some of her new found magic, but she wants to learn more. She’s lured out to the forest to meet her brother’s old friend, Finn, who promises to teach her more magic and find out who killed her brother. As Frances learns more, she must figure out what’s most important to her: Finn, her new witch friends, or discovering her brother’s murderer. 

This was a great witchy story. I loved the spooky atmosphere of New York in 1911. There were people being mysteriously murdered and incurable diseases. Indigenous racism was also addressed a bit, as one of the witches at the school was abused at a residential school. 

There were some great twists at the end of the story. I suspected the big one before it was revealed, but I was still surprised with how the story ended. I’m glad the sequel is out now so I can read it soon!

The Witch Haven is a great witchy story.

What to read next:

The Witch Hunt by Sasha Peyton Smith

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Other books in the series:

  • The Witch Hunt

Have you read The Witch Haven? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

One thought on “Review: The Witch Haven (The Witch Haven #1)”

  1. This book looks like an interesting one! I’m not really into historical fiction but if I could get some magic/fantasy sprinkled in then I’d gladly check it out. It’s got an interesting premise too! 🙂


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