A magical realism/historical fantasy story, The Witch’s Kind completely captivated me. It’s the story of Barrie Anne Blyth, a young woman in the time of WW 2, and her aunt Charlotte, who raised her. Barrie has a past with a man who turned out to be not what he seemed: a college man who joined the service when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. This past led her to a run-down farm that her husband bought without telling her; while she knows nothing of farming, she quickly learns from neighbors, books, and just doing. Soon she has a thriving food garden and flock of hens, right on the Hood Canal. When her husband disappears, she continues the farm on her own. When her dog, Willow, finds a new born baby on the beach, she takes it in, and Aunt Charlotte comes to stay with her a lot of the time.
The baby, Emma, isn’t quite “normal”, but Barrie loves her. She lost her own baby after only a few hours, so she’s ready for a baby, no matter what. Her long lost husband, Will, returns and has his own plans for the child. Government agents hang around the small town and the farm. Barrie and Charlotte invent stories to cover Emma’s origin, and try to keep her secret covered. There is never a time to feel secure and relax.
I LOVED this book. It’s a hard one to classify; my first thought was magical realism, but there is also sci-fi, women’s fiction, historical fantasy… so much, blended together to get a book that I sat up most of the night reading. The descriptions of the town, the farm, the canal, Port Townsend, the Olympic Peninsula, are all wonderful and bring things to life. It’s an area I love anyway, and to see it through the lens of the 40s was great. I loved Aunt Charlotte. I liked Barrie, too, although I was impatient with her in much of the flashbacks, as she was learning about life and growing up. Five stars.