Cackle by Rachel Harrison is not my usual reading fare, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Ms. Harrison’s story of female empowerment has some spooky moments, but really it is more about breaking societal expectations. After all, what is a witch other than a strong, independent female who doesn’t follow the rules set by others?
Annie starts out as a rather pathetic high school teacher struggling to adjust to life as a newly single woman after her long-time boyfriend decides they are better as friends than dating. For all that, she is equally relatable because of the fact that she always thought her path meant husband, children, and all the rest. Meanwhile, Sophie is quirky and charming even if she is a bit ominous. Watching Annie bloom under her tutelage is satisfying and inspiring.
You would think that a book that uses spiders as personal helpers would be a bit too much for this arachnophobe to handle, but I have to admit that by the end, I even found those damn spiders endearing. Cackle is what I would call a cozy witch story. It might take place in the dead of winter in an old and drafty mansion crawling with secrets, but the whole thing is just too damn cute with a great message about needing no one but yourself.