Many Comic Cons past, I fell in love with the art of Fez Inkwright (@rosdottir on Twitter), who combines beautiful art with folklore and witchiness, and is also a hugely sweet person. I have several pieces of her art up around my house, and I also bought her self-published book, Folk Magic and Healing: An Unusual History of British Plants. So I was thrilled when the last time I saw her, she told me it had been picked up by a publisher for a swanky expanded, hardback release – and even more thrilled when Liminal 11 offered me the chance to review the new edition!
Book: Folk Magic and Healing: An Unusual History of Everyday Plants by Fez Inkwright
Read before: Yes, though not this expanded version
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Liminal 11. All opinions my own.
This book is absolutely gorgeous. I knew it would be, but it’s just so lovingly put together that it knocked my socks off. The cover has beautiful gold foil highlighting the artwork, the paper is nice and weighty, and there’s a gold ribbon bookmark! The endpapers are incredible, and every page has inset illustrations of each plant, as well as gorgeous illuminated letters at the start of each alphabetical section. There are full page illustrations too (which I love so much I have postcards of them framed), and I don’t know why, but something about Fez’s art style just looks so magical to me. It’s certainly the best looking of all my modern herbals, that’s for sure!
So it’s aesthetically stunning, but does it hold up as a book about plants? Yes, absolutely! It’s laid out really nicely with clear, well-written information. Each plant has a quote from literature at the top of the entry, a discussion of its folklore, and then a section about its medicinal uses, if it has any. It’s easy to read, and there are plenty of references to sources and older herbals so you can research further if you wish. As well as the alphabetical plant dictionary, there is a new section called “The Magic of Plants”, which delves into some of the ways in which plants are used for spells and other recipes, as well as a section on trees and their folklore. It’s a really lovely overview and you can feel that this is a real passion project.
This would be a beautiful addition to any witch’s collection, and would also be a wonderful book for those interested in folklore or herbalism. As there should be with all books like this, there’s a disclaimer not to use this for medical purposes without consulting a doctor, but as a reference book, this is brilliant, and a joy to read. I can’t wait for the companion book to come out, which will focus on poisonous and harmful plants – it should be fascinating. Five out of five cats!