Toil & Trouble is an anthology of 15 stories of women and witchcraft ranging every period of time and every time of woman imaginable. These stories reflect women fully in their power as witches, and the lives they lived around it.
I was inspired to buy this book because of Peter Monn on his BookTube channel. Peter Monn is a YouTuber that I watch regularly and love, even though I don’t participate with his BookTube channel as much as his other channels. He uploaded a video where this book cover was in the video thumbnail and my attention was immediately caught. The cover to the book is gorgeous and in this case, I’m glad I judged a book by its cover as this was a book I surprisingly ended up loving.
Anthologies are not typically books that I enjoy reading as, for me, I want a fully immersive story where I can get lost in the universe and everything it involves. Anthologies typically don’t keep my attention because I’m more concerned with all the questions I have about the settings and outside characters and motives.
However, this anthology was a welcome surprise. Aside from the fact that this book satiated my desire for “spooky witchy” books around Halloween time, the characters and settings of all these stories was everything I have been wanting in written work.
Admittedly, I’ve taken a break from reading for joy for a long time until recently. I was getting tired of the same cookie cutter stories being retold and reshaped to have only slightly different characters and storylines. Granted, it may have been that I wasn’t venturing outside my comfort genre enough, but Toil & Trouble gave me something to be excited to read.
There was only one story I didn’t read in the anthology (the one titled The Moonapple Menagerie) and it was because after reading the first 3-5 pages, it couldn’t keep my attention whatsoever. I decided that story must not have been meant for me anyway and moved on to the others.
Every other story was honestly amazing. I loved the small snippets of stories that I read and was left happy with where they all ended, even though most were on cliffhangers making me want more. The characters were so vast and varied and told the stories of women that have needed to be told for years and years. I loved the diversity in plots, race, class, sexuality, religion, geography, and era. To me, this is exactly what witchcraft and witches are truly all about. Acceptance, telling the untold stories of women that we all need to hear, and showing the magic in the mundane aspects of life.
The writing was also amazing and even though the stories were written by different authors, the stories had a wonderful flow and had perfect description in amazing, emotional detail.
If you’re someone who’s interested in magic, witches, or women, then this book is definitely worth a read. I purchased this book as a Halloween time read, but this book could be read at any time of the year where you’re looking for a fun easy book to read every now and then. This was an easy book to be able to pick up and put down as needed with the ebb and flow of life without feeling completely guilty.