Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of Toil and Trouble for review purposes from NetGalley, so thank you to them and the publishers for that.
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft is a collection of short stories about, you guessed it, women and witchcraft. The collection of stories is edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood and features stories from a variety of different female authors.
I gave this short story collection four out of five stars. I highly recommend this collection, because it has a little bit of something for everyone. I’m not going to be going in depth into each story because there are 15 of them, but they each have things that are interesting.
The thing I love most about short story collections is the diversity. Each story will bring something different to the table because it is written by a different author with a different style and life experience. There is always a wide range of representation. In Toil & Trouble there is lots of wlw representation (bi, lesbian and pan). There are lots of stories from different parts of the world, representing different experiences. There’s even OwnVoices rep in this collection. If full on fantasy isn’t your thing, there is plenty of magical realism type stories that plant the witchcraft firmly in a modern world. If historical fiction is your thing, there are a couple of stories that date back, including one that is set during the Salem witch trials, and one set in the 1800s in Texas.
So as mentioned, I gave this collection four stars. It’s great because there’s something for everyone, and I genuinely loved many of the stories. However, on the other hand there were some stories that I didn’t enjoy as much, so overall I would say it averaged to be the four stars. The nice thing about it having stories that I didn’t enjoy was that I knew I wasn’t going to have to read a whole novel length book about that, and that when the story was over the odds were good that I would enjoy the next one.
My top three stories were (in no particular order): The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert, The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord, The Love Spell. My bottom two stories were: The Moonapple Menagerie by Shveta Thakrar and Daughters of Baba Yaga by Brenna Yovanoff.
This book comes out at the end of this month, and I would highly recommend that you seek it out and read it because the collection is wonderful on the whole and I was moved by many of the stories.