Lanternfish Press

Rare & Strange


Witches’ Dance
by Erin Eileen Almond

Witches’ Dance is a symphony of genius and insanity, love and danger. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and the dream of acceptance. Intricate and beautifully complex.

—Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and Awayland


FIC043000 FICTION / Coming of Age
FIC045000 FICTION / Family Life / General
FIC019000 FICTION / Literary
Print ISBN: 978-1-941360-29-3
Digital ISBN: 978-1-941360-30-9
464 Pages • $18.00 Paperback • $4.99 EPUB
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Publicity Contact: Feliza Casano

Hilda Greer's love affair with the violin began at the age of seven, when she attended a performance by the virtuoso Phillip Manns. She believed him with a child’s faith when he declared himself the reincarnation of Niccolò Paganini and then dashed from the stage, his mind in ruins.

Nearly a decade after his breakdown, Phillip Manns is a recluse, insulated against the temptations of music—until a former colleague begs him to teach at a nearby conservatory. It’s there that he meets Hilda Greer, who’s come to audition and plays the piece that started it all: Paganini’s Le Streghe, or Witches’ Dance.

Entranced by the character of Hilda’s playing and unable to resist the siren call of music, Phillip takes Hilda under his wing. The two start a witches’ dance of their own, a whirlwind that sweeps them toward the International Paganini Competition. When their curtain falls, one will bask in the music world’s acclaim—and the other’s world will be shattered completely.

Photo Credit: Sharona Jacobs Photography

Photo Credit: Sharona Jacobs Photography

About the Author

Erin Almond is a novelist, short story writer, essayist and reviewer. Her work has been published in The Boston Globe, Colorado Review, Normal School, Small Spiral Notebook, and on and The She is a graduate of the UC-Irvine MFA program and Wesleyan University, and a recipient of a St. Botolph Foundation Emerging Artists Grant. Erin lives outside Boston with her husband, Steve, and their three children.


Comp Titles

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  • Heart, You Bully, You Punk by Leah Hagar Cohen

  • The Fever by Megan Abbot

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

  • Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson


Praise for Witches’ Dance

At once bold and evocative, Witches’ Dance is a captivating debut. Erin Eileen Almond tells the story of the spirited young musician Hilda and her brilliant, dangerous mentor Phillip Manns in swift prose that dances with the energy of Paganini’s violin.

—Barbara Barrow, author of The Quelling

Erin Almond’s moving tale of brilliance and madness illuminates the power of music and the challenges of nurturing genius. A love story, really—love for another being and for music, the two so interwoven they are almost fatally inseparable. Witches' Dance is mesmerizing, with characters both flawed and sympathetic who captivate to carry us toward a dramatic conclusion.

—Daphne Kalotay, award-winning author of Sight Reading and Blue Hours

Erin Eileen Almond's virtuosic debut transports you into the rarefied world of classical music, where two violinists—one trying to reignite his career, the other just realizing the extent of her power—discover the price they must pay to make their art. A beautiful and engrossing tale of madness, magic, and music.

—Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light

Witches’ Dance elegantly explores the desire for immortality through art, the desire to lose one’s body to music, to lose one’s private miseries to something greater. It’s a matryoshka doll of identities—psychological, supernatural—secret mothers, hidden wolves—and it’s a treat to travel alongside these enchanting characters as they reveal yet another power, yet another vulnerability in their striving for success, love, triumph, oblivion.

—Anca L. Szilágyi, author of Daughters of the Air

A truly bewitching novel about music, potential madness, and that most powerful force of all: first love. Erin Almond's Witches' Dance will mesmerize you—and signifies the beginning of a long and powerful career.

—Jenna Blum, NYT bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family