Saturday, May 28, 2011

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches of East End                     
Melissa de la Cruz
June 2011
288 Pages
ARC Reviewed
From Library Things
Early Reviewers

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.

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

I received an ARC of this from Library Things Early Reviewers Program.  This in no way influenced my review.

Let me start by stating that this is not a YA novel.  It is strictly seventeen and up.  This is one of those books that would be great for a college age YA lover.  It took me a little while to get caught up in the story, but I don't know if that was because of personal reasons or the story line, so I'll give it a break on that.  I love witch stories, but these witches, Freya, her sister Ingrid and their mother Joanna Beauchamp are forbidden to practice witchcraft since the Council ruled anyone stuck on this side of the bridge could no longer practice witchcraft.  I didn't know what bridge, but I thought it had something to do with the Salem Witch trials as the girls, Freya and Ingrid were hung on Gallows Hill. (You find out what bridge much later in the book.) Joanna and her husband split up after that, Joanna claiming that he left the family.  The girls were reborn to Joanna, in fact any time they died they were reborn.  But Joanna also had a son whom she misses dearly and she is afraid he is gone to her forever.  There isn't any mention of where he is.  The Council confiscated, wands, brooms and cauldrons after the ruling.  But Joanna, unbeknownst to the girls, kept some of their things, especially their wands.

The three women live in a town on the tip of Long Island called North Hampton which didn't exist on any map and is likened to Brigadoon in that once you've been there, it's hard to find it again.  Across from it is Gardiners Island and the mansion Fair Haven that has recently undergone a great and complete restoration.  The novel is told from Freya, Ingrid and Joanna's points of view, alternating chapters, sometimes sharing chapters.  It may sound confusing, but it never is, it makes perfect sense. 

Each woman is extremely different and strong in her own way.  Freya, the youngest at nineteen is pure fun-sexy, loves to be in love and loves others to be in love.  She is the life of the party and makes sure there always is a party.  She's very emotional and, in fact, her mood dictates the atmosphere around her.  If she's happy, everything tastes better, everyone looks and feels better, life is just better all around.  She works in a bar and mixes drinks and customers swear her drinks taste better than anyone else's.  She gets the idea to make a little love potion for a couple that are having trouble and it's so successful that she creates a little cocktail menu of  "Love Potions".   She figures a little magic can't hurt and it makes her feel so alive!  And she's missing her future husband, Bran Gardiner so much and feeling more than a little guilty about the thoughts she's having about his younger bad boy brother Killian Gardiner.  But something goes awry with one of her drinks, or so she's led to believe and a girl goes missing that she made irresistible and now the police are questioning her.

Then there is Ingrid, head librarian at the small library that sits on oceanfront property.  The mayor is threatening to shut the library down completely and sell the expensive property to a land developer, seeing no need for the library.  As she worries about her library and her co-workers, Ingrid prepares blueprints of Fair Haven for a fundraiser at the end of summer.  Killian brought them by and as she steams them she notices strange tags on them and writing in a language she's never seen before.  She snaps pictures and sends them to a secret source to get more information.  In the meantime, she pines away for a man that's unavailable and figures, if Freya is practicing magic and the Council hasn't done anything, she can at least help a friend in need.  But when she does the friend talks and soon, Ingrid is healing women in the town on her lunch hour every day and seeing some kind of dark mass blocking the women of the town either creatively, in their relationships, or in their ability to bear children.  When the mayor's wife comes asking for something to keep him from having an affair, she gives her a love knot, but could she have tied it wrong subconsciously she wonders when the mayor goes missing?  Is it her fault?

And then there is their mother, Joanna who spends most days baking and doting on the live in housekeepers' four year old son, Tyler.  But when she begins to find dead birds on the beaches and and some type of toxin is washing up on the shores of North Hampton threatening the lives of everyone that lives there, their livelihoods, the sea life, (sounding familiar) she realizes she needs help to fix it.  The toxin starts to affect the children and Tyler falls deathly ill while she is out of town getting help.  But her powers of restoration and renewal won't help him because though she's very powerful, she  can't help the people she loves.  Her magic doesn't work on them.  And she is accused of the worst crime of all murder and assault, though she isn't charged.

There is a lot going on in this story and after I got into the plot things moved along, not fast, but at a steady pace.  I felt like the ending came out of nowhere and some of you may like a surprise ending.  If you do, you will absolutely love it.  But as I wrote this review, I realized there might have been a few very, very subtle clues as to the way this story was heading.  The lore, mythology whatever you want to call it is one I'm not familiar with so I didn't pick up on any of it.  I'm not going to tell you what to brush up on or even label it.  So the ending will be a big surprise for you, too.  I felt like it was asking a lot to get me to go along with that ending.  But that was me.  Just my opinion so please Blueblood fans do not hate me.  I haven't read the Blueblood series but I want to and still want to and want to read the next book in this series because the little teaser at the end of this book promises for a very interesting next book!

Heather in Sandwich


  1. I've been looking forward to reading this book for awhile. I like surprise endings, so I can't wait to check this one out!!

  2. I haven't heard of this one, but I enjoy the overall premise for it - I definitely am intrigued. Fabulous review, Heather - I might have to make this my first Melissa de la Cruz :)

  3. Wow, there seems to be so much going on with this one! That's nice that it's told in multiple perspectives, and you probably really got a taste for their different magical specialties then. Sounds like an interesting read overall. Thanks for your review!

  4. Book Sake- You will definitely be surprised!

    Melissa- I have never read any of her things either. Her writing is good, I just had a problem with the ending coming out of left field like I said. But maybe I didn't pick up on the clues.

    T.B.- The multiple POVs were interesting. They weren't confusing and you definitely get a clear view of how different each of the character's magic works. Freya's is the most fun!!



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