September 28, 2021
by Paige Crutcher
St. Martin's Griffin
Fiction / Fantasy
Paperback, 352 pages
"Mystical, magical, and wildly original...If Alice Hoffman and Sara Addison Allen had a witchy love child, she would be Paige Crutcher. Do not miss this beautifully realized debut!"
-author JT Ellison
A deeper magic. A stronger curse. A family lost...and found.

Persephone May has been alone her entire life. Abandoned as an infant and dragged through the foster care system, she wants nothing more than to belong somewhere. To someone. However, Persephone is as strange as she is lonely. Unexplainable things happen when she’s around—changes in weather, inanimate objects taking flight—and those who seek to bring her into their family quickly cast her out. To cope, she never gets attached, never makes friends. And she certainly never dates. Working odd jobs and always keeping her suitcases half-packed, Persephone is used to moving around, leaving one town for another when curiosity over her eccentric behavior inevitably draws unwanted attention.

After an accidental and very public display of power, Persephone knows it’s time to move on once again. It’s lucky, then, when she receives an email from the one friend she’s managed to keep, inviting her to the elusive Wile Isle. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. However, upon arrival, Persephone quickly discovers that Wile is no ordinary island. In fact, it just might hold the very things she’s been searching for her entire life.

Answers. Family. Home.

And some things she did not want. Like 100-year-old curses and an even older family feud. With the clock running out, love might be the magic that saves them all.
Dear Reader, 

For me, there is truth in magic and magic in truth. When I sat down to write The Orphan Witch, I was six months’ pregnant with my daughter and unable to visualize what the future would be. In my mind, I was holding a scrapbook of the past, flipping through losses and miracles and promising mistakes that are the story of my own life. As I looked back in order to dream forward, I knew a few things to be certain: women are badasses, magic is real (though the varying forms of what magic is are debatable), and books are the best portal to another world. 

The Orphan Witch is a story I always wanted to write but spent years too scared to put pen to page. It is a story of sisterhood and sacrifice, of the high cost of living a life of courage, and the beauty and curse of great power. It is a story of powerful women whose stories (like the stories of all the magnificent women I know) aren’t linear plot lines. We carry worlds inside of us, and those worlds are layered and nuanced. I wanted to illuminate this strength, and how it amplifies in the face of true sisterhood. 

I also couldn’t stop thinking about how shadows don’t run from the light—they’re an echo of it. We don’t have to be afraid of the darkness when we know how to use it. I thought a lot about the incredible women I know, how strong these women are. How flawed they are. How they don’t let the wounds they carry stop them from being the people they want and are meant to be. How no matter where they come from, who they’ve been, or what they’ve had to overcome, when they are accepted and encouraged to be who they are, well, anything is possible. Much like our shadows, magic is there, even if we can’t always see it.


Paige Crutcher 
Book Club Menu
A Cup of Whimsy
The women of Wile Isle prefer a little mischief with their magic and highly recommend a cup of whimsy at least once a season. Preferably with a teaspoon or tablespoon of loose-leaf rosehip, lavender, orange peel, and hibiscus flower, though any beloved blend of tea will do. Add in a splash of your favorite whisky or a drop of honey to warm the soul. The tea can be drunk in or out of doors, but the women are partial to the open air, under the full of the moon, with their feet bare on the ground.

Moira’s Blueberry Scones
If you don’t have organic blueberry bushes growing in your magical garden, never fear—any batch of blueberries will do! Bless them with a rinse in fresh water—the Ever sisters make sure theirs has sat out overnight under a full moon. The secret to these particular pastries is in the mood—they should be made while you celebrate yourself and the sisters of your heart, perhaps with a little Indigo Girls crooning on the radio.

The Cat’s Meow Cocktail
Wile Isle is home to many secrets, and one of their tastiest is the Cat’s Meow Cocktail. To create this divine concoction, you’ll need an ounce of fresh lemon and lime juices, an ounce of homemade lavender simple syrup, and 2 ounces of your favorite gin or vodka( or sparkling water), and you’ve got a bit of magic in your cauldron. Savor over a setting sun. Blessed be.

*A Cup of Whimsy

*Moira’s Blueberry Scones

*The Cat’s Meow Cocktail 

*The Way Sisters Tea Sandwiches

The Way Sisters Tea Sandwiches
While tea sandwiches were invented to stave off hunger until dinnertime, the Way sisters are firm believers in eating when you’re hungry any time of the day—dinner be damned! One of their go-to favorites is a Brie Happy sandwich made with freshly baked crusty sourdough bread, topped with sweet fig jam, brie sliced the way you like it, slivers of Granny Smith apple, baby arugula, and if you’re in need of an extra kick, red onion. These open-faced sandwiches can be baked in the oven or topped with another slice of bread and grilled in a pan.

However you choose to eat them, this goddess-sanctioned nourishment should be eaten right away! Just remember to give yourself three compliments while you take in the sustenance, pass a compliment to the person on your left, and a celebratory wink to the person on your right.

-Paige Crutcher
©Copyright 2021. The Book Club Cookbook