The Witches of Bellinas

A Novel


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9781646221806 | Hardcover 6 x 9 | 240 pages Buy it Now

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Book Description

A dreamy California Gothic about a woman who moves to the mysterious town of Bellinas to save her marriage, only to be swept up in a hedonistic cult that isn’t what it seems

Tansy and her husband Guy are the newest arrivals in Bellinas, a lush oasis tucked into the coast of northern California where a reclusive, creative community is beginning to take shape. Helmed by Guy’s cousin Mia, a famous model -turned -wellness -luminary, and her tech mogul husband, the group renounces the outside world in pursuit of purity, fashioning their own rules about what to eat and how to live.

Everything seems perfect in Bellinas: food is abundant, flowers are always in bloom, and nearby wildfires leave the town remarkably unscathed. While Guy is happy in their new lives, Tansy becomes more and more suspicious of the community and increasingly desperate to save her already-fragile marriage. And as lonely women have throughout the ages, she wants to believe in what may only be a beautiful lie.

The Witches of Bellinas unfolds as a confession from Tansy, filled with anguish over the life, and sense of self, she’s surrendered in her desperation to belong. In J. Nicole Jones’s clever reimagining of cult power and groupthink, the question isn’t why join, but rather, what happens when you understand the danger, but can’t conceive of a way out?

About the Authors

J. Nicole Jones Author Photo
© Ben Bromley

Praise For This Book

Shelf Awareness, A Best Book of the Week
Publishers Weekly, A 2024 Summer Read
Bookshop, A Most Anticipated Title of the Year

“An immersive experience into a weird fictional California cult . . . Reminiscent of the underlying ugliness of White Lotus as well as the movie Wanderlust (without the humor) this story has a wicked twist that I did not see coming.” —Cheri Anderson, the Bookloft, The Boston Globe

"Jones has written a compelling book, drawing from our chaotic reality to create a dystopia where individual thought is extinguished for the art colony’s harmony . . . [Her] power as a storyteller burns fire-hot." —Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times

"Tansy is the hero of The Witches of Bellinas . . . having discovered the surprising secrets lurking beneath the shiny surface. It’s what she does with that knowledge that upends expectations." —Suzanne Van Atten, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Scintillating." —Chloe Joe, Bustle

"The narrative shrewdly sends up the narcissistic nonsense of tech bros, faux artists, and those who see spirituality as a lifestyle accoutrement, while suggesting that society’s pressure on women to be perfect is actually cultish programming suppressing female strength." —Rufus Hicock, BUST

"J. Nicole Jones’s debut novel is as entrancing as it is deeply unsettling." —Psychopomp

"This book is Stepford Wives meets Midsommar, and one could easily picture it being turned into a Sofia Coppola movie. Readers will be drawn in by the eerily beautiful vibes, and riveted by the complex exploration of wealth and gender roles." —Jillian Bell, BookBrowse

"[A] brilliant writer. She turns her wit and masterful writing toward a fictitious cult in her first novel." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"Jones’s lyrical yet ominous prose affects a bewitching vibe of its own ('Don’t believe those who say that the fog is just fog . . . that the thunderheads worn by nearby mountain peaks are merely weather'). Readers will find this haunting tale is tough to shake." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The novel establishes a sense of urgency up front . . . Fans of Kate Weinberg's The Truants (2020) and Swan Huntley's The Goddesses (2017) will enjoy Jones' deliberate pacing, lyrical style, and appreciation for many kinds of inspiration." —Booklist

"At the intersection of the supernatural and simple human ugliness, The Witches of Bellinas gives its readers chills and thrills along with a profound sense of wrongs done, but no heroes or villains. This is a novel for anyone who's wondered if the picturesque might be too good to be true." —Shelf Awareness

"Jones has authored a fierce, timely indictment of movements masquerading as enlightenment, cautioning women especially against things that seem too good to be true. A rich, piercing novel that cries out for women to trust themselves above all others." —Kirkus Reviews

"The Witches of Bellinas is like the eerie technicolor lovechild of Midsommar and Rebecca. I loved being inside Tansy's mind as she learns to decode the sun-soaked, menacing world of Bellinas—and as she learns to decode herself, too. Myth and magic, gender and power, desire and death all swirl together in this novel to make a heady brew." —Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson

“A sinister and sparkling modern myth about the seductiveness of sisterhood, The Witches of Bellinas questions what we are willing to sacrifice for belonging and serves as a poignant reminder that there is no sorcery more powerful than selfhood. Tansy Green's journey will stay with me for years to come.” —Ling Ling Huang, author of Natural Beauty

"Twisty and luscious, J. Nicole Jones's The Witches of Bellinas is like Alice's Wonderland: uncanny, at times frightening, and incredibly pleasurable to wander even as the darkness looms. You'll be swept up in its winds." —Julia Fine, author of Maddalena and the Dark