REVIEW: “The Partisan and the Witch” by Charlotte Honigman

Review of Charlotte Honigman, “The Partisan and the Witch”, in Skull & Pestle: New Tales of Baba Yaga, edited by Kate Wolford (World Weaver Press, 2019): 79-100 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

This story is the crown jewel of the anthology, taking the myth of Baba Yaga and transplanting it into World War II Poland. Chaja is a young Jewish girl in hiding who has already seen her brother and sister, Zivek and Rywka, die. When the farmers who are protecting her can do so no longer, the farmwife tells her there is someone in the depths of the forest that may be able to help her. So Chaja sets off to find Baba Yaga and beg of her to kill the three riders, the white, the red, and the black, who are roaming the countryside slaughtering her people.

This was a superlative example both of how to take a historic myth and completely reinvent it, and how to write good modern historical fantasy. Every word breathes life into Chaja and her siblings and friends, and I was riveted.