Thursday, June 09, 2011

Gotham Gal Review: Witches of East End

Author:  Melissa de la Cruz
Pub. Date: June 2011

•Publisher: Hyperion
•Format: Hardcover , 288pp

From the back cover:

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

Gotham Gal reports:  Melissa de la Cruz's new series is an intoxicating brew, a heady mixture of Norse mythology, and old-fashioned story-telling. I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I first started reading it.  I received an ARC from the publisher, which indicated that the book was being positioned for the YA market that gobbled up her previous series The Blue Bloods and The Au Pairs.  However this book is more suited for more mature teens.  It's much more adult in many ways than her other books.  de la Cruz's writing is much more assured and mature than her earlier works.  Witches of East End is very reminiscent of Alice Hoffmann's work, particularly her book Practical Magic.

My only quibble with the story is that she uses a real location Gardiner's Island in the book as well as the Gardiner family (who actually still own the island), one of whom is the villain in the book. Granted, her Gardiner's are fictional but it would like writing a novel and creating a whole other branch of the Roosevelt or Vanderbilt family.  The Gardiners have owned that island since the late 17th century.  It's perfect for the story, but it took me out of the reality that she was creating.  That's just me and readers who don't know who the Gardiner family is and their relation to Long Island won't really care.

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