• Conjure Women

  • A Novel
  • By: Afia Atakora
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (442 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing - and for the conjuring of curses - are at the heart of this dazzling first novel

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • NPR • Parade Book RiotPopMatters

"Lush, irresistible... It took me into the hearts of women I could otherwise never know. I was transported." (Amy Bloom, New York Times best-selling author of White Houses and Away)

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter, Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter, Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Praise for Conjure Women

"[A] haunting, promising debut... Through complex characters and bewitching prose, Atakora offers a stirring portrait of the power conferred between the enslaved women. This powerful tale of moral ambiguity amid inarguable injustice stands with Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

"An engrossing debut... Atakora structures a plot with plenty of satisfying twists. Life in the immediate aftermath of slavery is powerfully rendered in this impressive first novel." (Kirkus Reviews starred review)

©2020 Afia Atakora (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Afia Atakora brings the Civil War South to life so beautifully with Conjure Women, a heartbreaking joy to read." (Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times best-selling author of Lilac Girls)

"If you are grieving for Toni Morrison, Afia Atakora is the young writer to read now: the kind of historical novelist who makes you believe she must have somehow seen the places she describes and known these characters herself. Her astonishing debut takes the reader to a Reconstruction-era Southern plantation, where two little girls - the enslaved child of the local healer and the planter’s cloistered daughter - become unlikely friends. Conjure Women illuminates an unfamiliar corner of Civil War history and brings to life an indelible character whose talents, from midwifery to voodoo, will yield her own unconventional path to power and freedom." (Nell Freudenberger, author of Lost and Wanted)

"In Conjure Women Afia Atakora masterfully centers two generations of women, folk healers who carry the secrets of their community while bearing the brunt of its antebellum past and its reconstructed present. Telling a gripping story at once grand and intimate, Atakora renders humanity in all its beautiful fits and flaws. Page after page, her voice announces itself like a thunderclap. The women in this novel will blessedly stick with you long after the last word has been read." (Caleb Johnson, author of Treeborne)

What listeners say about Conjure Women

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    244
  • 4 Stars
    126
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    284
  • 4 Stars
    71
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    215
  • 4 Stars
    112
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Conjure Women

I was really holding my breath at the beginning, waiting anxiously for the plot. But it never really materialized in the way I would have liked. it's a great historical fiction story, but there was far too much fluff and description in every chapter, not enough real substance.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fifteen Richly Deserved Stars

I agree with some of the others, that Miss Mabel’s stories and Rue’s should be better defined as they switch back and forth. But don’t let this stop you from missing this incredible story. A rich array of characters, an exciting time in history to be alive, plot twists I did not suspect were coming, this book was easy to stay glued to… though some of the content was brutal beyond my imaginings, it did not drive me off.

I appreciate the superstitions mentioned, and the accuracy in the herbs and how they were used. The author clearly did their homework.

The way the story was read made it easy to identify who was speaking. I found all the voices completely engaging. Really read well.

Five richly deserved stars in each category.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

slow read.. left me wondering at the end.

Confusing...hard to follow. left me hanging at the end. not recommended. Not enough story line.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but wanting

I truly enjoyed this book , but I wanted a little more insights into the lives and experiences of the characters.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So valuable and enlightening

Recommend this enlightening story to bring to life the realities of Black lives and race relations.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Liked but did not love

Read for book club not the era of historical fiction i like to read. At times difficult to follow switching from.past to present.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read

Loved it. Great characterizations. You grew to experience the characters and suffer their troubles and their joys.
Well worth the read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!!!

I can't put into words how much I enjoyed this read. The ending was perfect!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Slow but surprising

Great start ,slow middle, but the ending was worth it. The journey of these women including the mistress showed endurance and growth.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story

Great story but at times could get confusing with all the back and forth. Had to go back a few times