Thursday, October 28, 2021

Book Review: A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers

Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Pub. Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Redhook
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "A young woman in Belle Epoque France is cursed to relive a doomed love affair through many lifetimes, as both troubled muse and frustrated artist.  In 1895, sixteen-year-old Juliet LaCompte has a passionate, doomed romance with the married Parisian painter Auguste Marchant. When her mother — a witch — botches a curse on Marchant, she unwittingly binds Juliet to the artist through time, damning her to re-live her affair and die tragically young lifetime after lifetime as the star-crossed lovers reincarnate through history.  Luke Varner, the worldly demon tasked with maintaining this badly crafted curse, has been helplessly in love with his charge, in all her reincarnations, since 19th century France. He’s in love with Nora, a silver screen starlet in 1930s Hollywood. He’s in love with Sandra, a struggling musician in 1970s Los Angeles. And he’s in love with Helen, a magazine exec in present-day DC who has the power to “suggest” others do her bidding.  In this life, Helen starts to recall the curse and her tragic previous lives. But this time, she might have the power to break the cycle…"


Helen Lambert works in D.C. in the political scene and it's a demanding job.  She curiously starts to have vivid dreams that make her feel like she was there--living them! When she meets Luke Varner, she starts to realize, thanks to his convincing, they have met before--many times actually over several lifetimes.  At first, this is hard for Helen to wrap her head around, but then she starts to realize that Luke is correct. These dreams she has been having are actual memories of her other lives where she is reliving her mistakes over and over again.  First there's Juliet LaCompte, a beautiful young woman who lives in 1895 France.  She is betrothed to a horrible young man whose family owns the land her father farms on and she thinks all hope is gone until she meets a painter Marchant, and she becomes his muse. An affair ensues, but it doesn't end well.  Things especially get complicated when Juliet's mother, a secretly practicing witch, finds out about Juliet's affair.  The curse her mother performs wasn't completed entirely right and the consequences are dire.  In Juliet's other lives, the versions of her are doomed to make the same mistakes.  There's Nora, a starlet from 1930s Hollywood, and Sandra, a 1970s musician living in Los Angeles.  One thing that binds all these women and their stories together isn't always the doomed ending, but their connection to Luke.  Luke, who is supposed to be looking after her and the complexities of the curse, has ended up loving her throughout time.  Can Helen break the curse that has plagued her for years?  A Witch in Time is the perfect atmospheric Halloween read for fans of Outlander and The Time Traveler's Wife.  

Helen is a really complex character in A Witch in Time. We really get to know her by having her experience her former lives through her dreams.  Juliet, who lived in 1895 France, really tugged on my heartstrings. Readers know she is making the wrong choice by having an affair and trusting Marchant, the Parisian painter, but we must remember she is young and naive.  She is looking for a way out of her upcoming marriage to a horrible young man and she thinks Marchant might be her way out of it.  Juliet experiences a lot of abuse, so be aware of this trigger. At times, her abuse was difficult to read, but it made me want to root for her to get away from her life on the farm.  Once her mother finds out about her affair, things start to go from an intense historical novel to a creepy, magical read.  Juliet's mother is a witch and we realize this once she starts performing a dark spell on Juliet and things go sideways. 

Meanwhile, Helen is experiencing these memories through her dreams and it is taking a toll on her. She does have Luke to talk to and unbox it all, but he doesn't give away too much. He wants her to keep "dreaming" in order to get her answers.  One thing for sure is Helen's connection to Luke is growing stronger by the day.

Helen's other lives, Nora and Sandra, are equally interesting and heartbreaking in A Witch in Time.  Both women live out similar lives to Juliet and readers know that she is doomed to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Nora, a Hollywood starlet in the 1930s, and Sandra, a musician in the 1970s, face a lot of the same problems as Juliet even though they lived many years apart.  One thing that I was pleasantly surprised by was Sayers's ability to create different stories and have different time periods all within one larger story. She developed each time period very well and I was, surprisingly, not drawn to one character over another, but instead was rooting for Helen to get some answers and break the vicious cycle.

So, if you like an atmospheric tale around Halloween, but don't want anything too dark, give A Witch in Time a try, especially if you like stories involving time travel. This was Sayers's debut and I enjoyed it, so I will definitely be keeping my eye out for her next novel.

Have you read A Witch in Time? The e-book is currently on sale for $4.99; it's a steal! Is this book on your TBR list? Do you like stories involving time travel? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I remember having this one on my TBR and for someone reason getting rid of it - I might have to reconsider that!

    1. Definitely reconsider if you like time travel! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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