• Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
Conjure Women Book Cover Conjure Women
Afia Atakora
African American Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction
Random House
April 7, 2020

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

I am so glad I got my hands on Conjure Women by Afia Atakora, I always try to fit Historical fictions or a good Literary Fiction in my “read pile” every year. This beautifully intricate story of a mother and daughter during Pre-Civil War times, during, and after Emancipation is the historical read I always search for.

The alternating views of  these complicated women made for a multi layered masterpiece. And the complicated, but yet, never gets old story between mother and her daughter is explicitly factual in this folkolore fiction tale.


This book is filled with grit, with beautifully yet tragic vivid descriptions of slavery. The day and life of Miss May Bell, the healer for Marse Charles land. You see her daily life of grinding herbs, rubbing concoctions, and healing the wounded people of the land. You also experience Miss May Bell raising her young daughter Rue, teaching her the ins and outs of the vocation. Being that Rue was allowed to be born, in order to inherit her mother’s role. I meant to say that statement, Rue, being an investment the the Master of the land. This kind of non-constrained honesty is hard to read, but these sort of stories whether they are fiction or real life stories need to be witnessed and felt.

We then have Rue, a couple years passed her mother’s passing, and post emancipation. Rue is holding a big grudge for her upbringing and the inheritance of skeletons in the closet her mother passed on, but also, she despises her role as healer. Rue is finding her and her people are still evolving and understanding what this FREEDOM truly means.

The thought of people who for generations did not have the knowledge of what being free is, can feel so far fetched for us during these times. This sobering story really peels back layers for a reader. Conjure Women in all it’s glorious fiction feels like the truth we need to feel. Atakora cultivated a story filled with vivid imagery, complex characters, heart breaking facts that enhance the reading experience as if it is a film playing out in front of you.

I gave Conjure Women by Afia Atakora 4.5 stars. If you are a historical fiction or literary fiction fan, I highly recommend this. The story feels so real, so vivid. The heartache from finishing it is still prevalent, but that to me is good writing. The book hangover that keeps you feeling all the feels, GAH! What an amazing work of fiction!


Conjure Women by Afia Atakora comes out April 7th, 2020. This author is one to watch out for. She is unafraid, she is talented, that is the formula for good stories. Even if you have been afraid to dive into historical fiction or literary fiction, I would highly recommend you picking up Conjure Women, the imagery is so vivid, the writing so beautifully graphic, it will captivate you, mind and soul.

Here is the pre-order link for Conjure Women!