Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
Publisher: Amistad Press
Genre: Fantasy; Dystopian
The Women Could Fly is a beautifully written and critical take on the way society treats and value women told through a dystopian tale where witches are real and ostracized. I love how Giddings created this world in her book that so cleverly dissects and exposes how women are treated as lesser than but does it in such a way that is both engaging and intriguing.
Our protaganist, Josephine (Jo), has spent more than a decade dealing with the repercussions of her mother’s disappearance and that stain that has left on her. One of the prevalent rumors about her Mom’s disappearance is that she could have been a witch. And witches in this society are second class citizens that need to forfeit rights and autonomy. The book starts with Jo and her dad finally declaring her mother deceased which triggers the release of her mom’s will and part of this will involves Jo taking a trip at a predetermined time where she will hopefully get some answers about her Mom. Coinciding with the will is the fact that Jo is almost 30. Which means she needs to be married asap or she will be put on a registry where she will be monitored for the rest of her life (it reminded me of a sex offender registry).
There were so many powerful elements of this story. From the complicated relationship Jo and her Mom have always had, to the way Jo is treated because of the color of her skin, to the way that women are treated in this dystopian world. Unfortunately, this world so closely parallels are own that it is easy to forget that this is set in a fantastical world. While we don’t currently have witch trials, we all know how women have been treated at the numerous witch trials throughout history. And Giddings ingeniously uses these real moments in history to craft this poignant story.
It is hard to talk about this book without spoiling the unexpected ways this story unfolds. I read this book in almost one sitting because I was so captivated by the journey Jo goes on. The magic in this book is delightful and the moving way that Giddings showcases the strength and power of womanhood in contrast to the brutality and harshness of how women are treated is mesmerizing.