It's been a while since I've been so excited about receiving a book to review. The Hearth Witch's Compendium by Anna Franklin is an amazing book filled with ideas, recipes, information, correspondences and even little spaces to write your own notes, correspondences and/or recipes! Coming in at over 500 pages there are 14 chapters, four appendices, a recipe index and more!
Chapter one is the shortest; an introduction so the reader can best understand just what hearth witchery is. I actually really enjoyed that this chapter was so short. It gives enough information for basic comprehension but then allows the further chapters to really go into the details of their subject matter. The remaining chapters are; The Witch's Kitchen, Wine Cider & Beer, Preserving, The Witch's Home, The Witch's Garden, Personal Care, A Witch's Guide to Natural Beauty, Herbs for Healing, Essential Oils, Home Remedies, Vegetable Dyes, Magical Herbalism and Incense.
One of my favorite sections was in the first chapter. Here Franklin briefly discusses food ethics and how the reader must decide for themselves what their personal ethics regarding the source of the food they consume. Franklin gives some ideas and suggestions about how one can go about being more environmentally friendly regarding their food consumption such as growing their own food, as best they can and/or only purchasing from local sources.
There are several small details in The Hearth Witch's Compendium which really take this book from good to great. First is that Franklin includes references. This really shows that they wish to ensure that the reader knows the information given is accurate. Secondly there is a lot of information included which can really help the reader actually make the recipes given, such as measurement tables, area set aside for notes and easily understood instructions for things such as canning. Thirdly, things are given descriptions and explanations for what they are, such as in the vegetable dyes chapter; Franklin explains what alum and copper sulfate are which can really help the reader get a better understanding of their purpose. Lastly are the appendices. I always love when authors include appendices as they can really give the reader a more thorough grasp of the subject. Here Franklin has four appendices where they give a lot of correspondences as well as space for the reader to write notes and recipes.
Chapter five, The Witch's Home, really has to be my favorite. The author here gives a lot of information for living more in tune with nature and the agricultural holidays. There are suggestions for alternative cleaners, furniture polishes, bathroom cleaners, air fresheners and even more. So often books about hearth witchery suggest to use more natural cleaners but don't actually give suggestions, ideas and information about how to actually do that. The Hearth Witch's Compendium does so, and in a way which anyone can understand.
This book really hits the mark. It's informative, easy to understand, and while it was written for individuals with Pagan leanings can be used by anyone of any faith. This is a book I recommend for anyone looking to change their home life to something with a more natural bent, or anyone who wishes to carve their witchy path into more of a hearth/cottage path.
~review by: Jessica Elizabeth
Author: Anna Franklin
2017; Llewellyn Worldwide