June 27, 2024

WEYWARD: A NOVEL by Emilia Hart

Publication Date: March 7, 2023

Print Length: 336 pages

An Amazon “Best Books of the Year So Far” 2023 Pick,

A Library Reads March 2023 Pick


In this multi-generational novel, Emilia Hart recounts the stories of three women who lived in Weyward Cottage in 1619, 1942 and 2019. In current time, Kate finds refuge in Weyward Cottage, as she escapes from an abusive partner. After inheriting the cottage from her great-aunt Violet, a relative she hardly knew, Kate discovers her connection to the independent women who formerly called the cottage their home.

The family’s history begins in 1619 when Altha, a midwife, is on trial for causing the death of a local farmer’s wife. Centuries later, Weyward Cottage becomes home to Violet in the 1940s when she is cast out by her family after she is raped by a cousin and becomes pregnant. While living in Weyward Cottage, Violet discovers that her own mother, Elizabeth, was also banished to the Cottage when Violet was a very young girlhh.

Years later, Kate learns about the challenges both Violet and Elizabeth faced. She also uncovers a written history in which Altha details the healing herbs she used as a midwife as well as Alta’s experiences after she was placed on trial for witchcraft.

Weyward highlights how generations of resilient women overcame misogyny, domestic abuse and the condemnation of their neighbors as they resolved to live the lives they wanted to live.


Kirkus Reviews, “Weyward by Emilia Hart, released March 7, 2023.” https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/emilia-hart/weyward/.

Yurcaba, Nicole, “Resilience through generations in ‘Weyward,’” Southern Review of Books, May 17, 2023. https://southernreviewofbooks.com/2023/05/17/weyward-emilia-hart-review/.

Daryl M., “Interview with an Author: Emilia Hart.” Los Angeles Public Library Blog, April 13, 2023. https://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/interview-author-emilia-hart.


  • What are the common threads that tie together the lives of the Weyward women over time? In what ways are their lives the same? Across the three periods of time that are presented, how has the treatment of women evolved?

  • What does Altha’s trial on charges of witchcraft reveal about the distrust with which midwives were treated in the 1600s? Was the distrust warranted in Altha’s case?

  • In what ways is Violet able to carve out her own life path in 1942 despite her father’s strict rules? Were her limited life options typical for women during the World War II era?

  • How does finding a connection to her past help heal Kate? In what ways does knowing about her relatives who lived in Weyward Cottage strengthen her ability to deal with the challenges in her life?

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Every month I offer a Book Club suggestion that highlights authors who write about their family history and explore themes of identity.
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