Amandine Bissett is an art history professor at Cambridge University. She has been married for thirteen years and has twin boys. Amandine is a member of the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft, which is comprised of professors who are witches. Amandine senses there is something wrong with her marriage as her husband is less amorous of late. When she meets a new student named Noa, the girl tells her she can see how much Amandine is worried about her family and wonders if her husband is having an affair.
Noa doesn't like that she can hear secrets of the people around her but she can't keep from telling everyone she can hear their secrets and what they are. People don't want to be around her for this reason. Her own mother quit talking to her years ago when Noa voiced the secret of her mother's affair to her father. Noa blames herself for their breakup and wants the magic to go away.
Kat is a mathematics professor at Trinity College and was taught by her mother, when she was a child, how to conjure up spells. After her mother dies in childbirth of a brain aneurysm, as she is giving birth to Kat's baby sister, Kat learns that it is a curse for her to get pregnant and die like her mother. Kat has a close friend named George, who is also a member of the book club, who she has been in love with their whole life but is afraid to tell him.
Cosima owns a bakery and loves making pastries with different herbs and flowers added into the batter to help her customers cope with their lives. Cosima was married to Tommy and very much wanted a child, even knowing her family's history with childbirth. Tommy has an affair and gets another woman pregnant so Cosima tells him to leave so she can find her own happiness. Cosima decides to cast a spell on George so he will become her lover and she takes some fertility herbs for herself. Kat gets upset when Cosima and George hook up and stays away from them both.
When the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft have their monthly meetings, they go up on top of the turrets of whichever building is chosen for that month. They levitate in a circle with a fire in the middle to discuss the book of choice. They know they will never be seen because no one ever looks up while walking across the campus.
When all the witches' lives start to unravel, it becomes a tale of mistakes made and life changing tragedies that keeps you enthralled with the story, as you keep flipping pages to find out the next magical occurrence.
Looking for new authors to read becomes an adventure in going from one genre to another. In THE WITCHES OF CAMBRIDGE, I love the things you learn about history and how the thoughts put on paper end in a compelling story worth reading. I hope to find some more of Ms Van Praag's works to keep my curiosity juices flowing.