The Witches of Bone Hill
Grade : B-

The Witches of Bone Hill is a fast-paced, interesting story that moves way too quickly and has way too many moving parts going on at the same time to qualify for an easy recommendation. And yet it’s fun, just the right sort of thing to read as we enter the fall and Halloween looms.

Real estate agent Cordelia – Cordy – Bone is in crisis. Her husband, John, proves to be a nogoodnik, identity-thieving con man who has skipped town with Cordy’s former assistant, Allison. John has also stranded Cordelia with serious debts which have put her in trouble with some shady figures. To be specific – they owe fifty thousand dollars to a mobster named Busy Mazzello, on pain of sleeping with the fishes. The death of her great Aunt Augusta is another drop of bad news in the bucket – and it’s delivered over the phone by Eustace, her long-estranged sister. With nothing to lose, and the hope of selling her shared marital home impeded by the discovery of black mold, Cordy goes to Aunt Augusta’s funeral and will-reading.

Cordy and free-spirited Eustace haven’t spoken in five years, but they try to get along at the function. And then they discover they’ve been given a great boon – and a great burden. They’ve inherited Aunt Augusta’s lovely old house – but must live in it together if they want to benefit from it. A cursory examination of the ground leads them to the discovery of a crypt filled with their ancestors – among other creepy features. Fortunately for Cordy, the place also comes with a groundskeeper named Gordon, who’s tattooed, handsome, and a lifelong resident of the property and descendant of the staff who have served the Bone clan for years.

Cordy’s plan is to refurbish the house and sell it so she can pay off Busy. But the women soon realize two things: they are witches, and being in Aunt Augusta’s home has begun to cause their latent powers to bloom. And the long line of Bone women who have come before them have paid great, horrible prices for practicing witchcraft, all dying young, including the girls’ mother…or so it seems. Soon, Cordy learns about a secret Eustace has been keeping from her, and the sisters must work together to ensure their future survival and any hope for the past – as well as untangle the mystery of their long-disappeared mother.

There’s a lot going on in The Witches of Bone Hill, and some of it’s pretty darn extraneous. We have witchcraft, ghostly ancestors, a cancer plot, a mob mystery, dead animals, estranged sisters, unhealed family wounds, moms who may or may not be actually dead, and a new romance. Some of this plot surplus really needed to be chopped in half to make the novel more fluid, because big plot points are consistently skipped over which, among other flaws, leads to an ill-defined magical system. To wit: Cordy and Eustace haven’t spoken for five years, but the big reason for this meltd away within pages of the beginning, causing their estrangement to make little sense. Since they stopped speaking because of Cordy’s marriage to John, one would think they’d have more to say to each other on the topic.

The romance between Cordy and Gordon also seems to move on an informed attribute basis, because they move from being wary of one another to Cordy being completely obsessed with him and willing to do – well, you’ll see.

But the overall spooky atmosphere combined with warm family feelings actually worked for me. The sisterly relationship – outside of the almost superfluous estrangement – worked very well, and I liked the creepy goings-on. The mob plot is stereotypical, but is also fleetingly amusing, and properly spooky. But overall, The Witches of Bone Hill fails to fly its way into DIK territory.

Note: This story features animal death and mutilation.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: B-

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : September 28, 2023

Publication Date: 09/2023

Review Tags: 

Recent Comments …

  1. I read Ulrich’s book several years ago,it was excellent. American Experience on PBS did an adaptation of the book, it…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments