Not to alarm my tender readers but since I arrived on the North Shore I have been quite aware of some supernatural forces at work. I have not (yet) summoned any thunderstorms. But I believe the women here to be perfectly capable of it. Luckily they put their powers to work for good, mostly, and they are no longer chaffing under the restraints of the 60s where Updike sets his tale.
He writes like a precise and joyful machine. The descriptions of New England are the most apt I’ve ever read, especially the plants and buildings. But despite giving this tale a strong engine and totally fascinating characters, gruesome murders, orgies, etc.- nothing particularly happens for Alexandra, the head witch. She watches the action and then in the last couple pages, marries and moves back out west. They all remarry. The events of the book turn out to be just a boring winter’s entertainment for the witches. Even their friendship, their coven, proves transient- something they needed during their divorce but easily discarded.