We know that all women are pretty much magical beings, but some fictional women have powers that go beyond being awesome, kicking ass in the face of sexism or even creating life. The three new novels in this week鈥檚 book club are all about women who bring a bit of that fantasy-grade magic to the world.

1. A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan ($25): From the early 1800s to the Second World War, Morgan鈥檚 novel takes us through five generations of a family of witches. In 1821, Romani clan leader Ursule Orchi茅re is pursued by Father Bernard, a priest with a hatred of all things magical and female. The priest blames his mother鈥檚 death from breast cancer on witchcraft, and has resolved to burn all accused witches at the stake. He鈥檚 not alone in his dangerous obsession: 鈥淭he Romani had always been targets, and were always wary. When the blood fever came upon the people, when they were overcome by lust for the smell of burning flesh and the dying screams of accused witches, there was neither law nor reason in the land.鈥

Hoping for a better future for her family, Ursule trades her own life for a hiding spell that leads her family to travel to England, escaping the angry mob. For the first time, they settle down in one place, and for the first time, they feel safe. This can only last so long. Years later, the youngest of Ursule鈥檚 six granddaughters, Nanette, finds herself with her grandmother鈥檚 scrying stone and clairvoyant powers but also her grandmother鈥檚 pursuers, including that same priest. Nanette鈥檚 daughter, also named Ursule, must follow in her footsteps; so must Ursule鈥檚 daughter Ir猫ne, then Ir猫ne鈥檚 daughter Morwen, then Veronica.

Each woman has her own chance at love and family but must face the same prejudices and dangers to her kind as her foremothers. Is each woman doomed to make the same mistake as the generations before her? A Secret History of Witches examines the bonds between mothers and daughters, and the power of hidden magic to quietly save the world, particularly as the world braces for another global war.

2. Norma by Sofi Oksanen, translated by Owen F. Witesman ($27): This 2015 novel from Oksanen, the award-winning Finnish-Estonian author of best-selling books Purge and When the Doves Disappeared, has finally been translated into English. Its protagonist, Norma Ross, has magical hair. Now, this isn鈥檛 Tangled or any version of the Rapunzel story, because Norma鈥檚 hair isn鈥檛 impossibly long. Instead, it has different magic: It makes her sensitive to scents and lies, and allows her to communicate with an ancestor (who had similar magical hair) from beyond the grave. It鈥檚 hypersensitive to changes in her own mood and the moods of those around her. Also, unlike Rapunzel鈥檚 hair, if you smoke it, it can act as a drug (one so powerful it might drive you insane).

This hair might come in handy because Norma needs to solve a mystery; jumping in front of a train, her mother Anita has died in what was ruled a suicide, but actually masks a much darker truth. This realization hits Norma hard because she鈥檚 already having a difficult time coping with life on her own, though she vows to become more self-reliant: 鈥淣orma would leave the farce behind to try to return to normal life and meet her mother鈥檚 death head-on. No more avoiding places that reminded Norma of her. No more being late to work. No more taking taxis instead of the metro, and no more bursting into tears each morning as she tore at her hair with a metal-toothed comb. She wouldn鈥檛 forget to eat or drink enough, and she wouldn鈥檛 let the life she and her mother had spent so much work building together fall apart鈥 That was the kind of woman she intended to be.鈥

Before she died, Norma鈥檚 mother sold hair, but nobody knows where she sourced it. Confronted by a mysterious man named Max Lambert at her mother鈥檚 funeral, Norma discovers that the 鈥渂usiness鈥 he speaks of is a family-owned worldwide set of hair salons and a trade in human hair. It鈥檚 not that simple, though; Lambert hints at a nefarious side of the business, involving the global exploitation of women. Hair is only the beginning, prefacing the sale of bodies, and even children. Norma must learn to step out of her mother鈥檚 shadow and follow her own destiny鈥 and her own hair.

3. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust ($19): 鈥淚f they love you for anything, it will be your beauty.鈥 Bashardoust鈥檚 debut novel is the feminist remix of the Snow White legend everyone needs. It鈥檚 more magical and more detailed than the original, humanizing both the beautiful daughter and her 鈥渨icked鈥 stepmother with intricate backstories and a conflict more nuanced than age vs. beauty. The title isn鈥檛 just a metaphor: Lynet (our Snow White, but one with olive-brown skin) is literally formed from snow, as a sorcerer creates her exactly in her dead mother鈥檚 image. Mina (stepmom) has a reason for the coldness of her heart; her widowed father had it cut out and replaced with one of glass that doesn鈥檛 beat. Not only that, but the kingdom is under an eternal winter curse that makes the Game of Thrones universe look like a tropical destination.

Teenage Lynet looks up to her self-possessed and calculating young stepmother (there鈥檚 only a Gilmore Girls age difference between them). They鈥檙e more alike than they are different, and their relationship is close. However, things soon take a turn. Mina鈥檚 quest for the love of Lynet鈥檚 father, King Nicholas, and the power of his kingdom is stymied when the teenage Lynet is made queen of the southern territories. This throws the two into direct competition: unless, of course, they can change the story and work together, instead of tearing each other apart.

鈥淭here are worse things in the world to be than delicate,鈥 Mina says. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e delicate, it means no one has tried to break you.鈥 Girls Made of Snow and Glass less-than-delicately makes the claim that the villain is not an evil stepmother, but rather a male-dominated society in which the only power a woman has is her youth and beauty. Feminism in your fairy tales? Sounds like magic.

What books fulfill your fairy-tale dreams? Tag us in your next magical read @BritandCo.

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