Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: Witches of East End

Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1)
Published By: Hyperion
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: ARC provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications
Audience: Adult


I have been a fan of Melissa de la Cruz's work since I picked up the first Blue Bloods novel several years ago. I love her writing style and the way she weaves history and mythology into her plots and characters. When I heard that she was writing an adult series about witches I could barely contain my excitement. I have loved witch novels since I was a little kid and I couldn't wait to see how Melissa would choose to portray her witches.


Witches of East End follows the powerful Beauchamp family of North Hampton, New York as they seek to live in a world without magic. After the Salem Witch Trials in the 1600's, witches and warlocks were denied their rights to use magic. Each of them must learn to blend into the human society around them without drawing attention to their true nature. Life is difficult for the beautiful and headstrong Beauchamp women who have lost some of their luster in an era without spells.

However, the monotony of human life soon changes when something wicked descends upon North Hampton. An elderly couple is found badly beaten on the beach, dead birds litter the beaches, sickness sweeps throughout the population, and a disturbing substance taints the local waters - The Beauchamp women can't just sit idly by and watch their home be torn apart. Each of the three women seek to help soothe the unhappiness that has swallowed the town. Freya, the youngest and most vivacious member of the coven, works at the local watering hole serving up drinks to improve the love lives of the towns inhabitants. Meanwhile, Ingrid. Freya's older sister, uses her office at the town library to help women with basic spells to cure anything from infertility to infidelity. Lastly, Joanna, the powerful matriarch of the Beauchamps, uses her magic to entertain and bring people back from death.

I loved that in this book Melissa de la Cruz not only did a nice job of setting up a system for her witches, but that she also linked them back to the witches of Salem. I have always loved how she uses fascinating historical elements as major components of her novels. She also links her witches to Norse mythology, which is another area that I find fascinating. As always, Cruz's descriptions of setting are amazing and put you right into the heart of the story. Furthermore, I enjoyed the musical allusions that are scattered throughout the book.

Cruz also does a nice job of making her new characters likable and real. However, I will say that I didn't like Freya much until the end. I can't explain why without spoiling the read for others, but just know that if you dislike her in the beginning, that may change by the conclusion. In spite of my dislike of Freya through most of the book, I did love the sister chemistry between her and Ingrid. They reminded me so much of my sister and me. It was also nice to see some characters from the Blue Bloods series make a brief appearance - Mimi and Oliver. Readers who have not read the Blue Bloods series - never fear - they are not a crucial point in the storyline and their is enough background information on who they are that you won't be lost.

Also, I think it's important to note that this is definitely an adult book. There are some pretty steamy scenes - much hotter than ones we have seen in the past in the Blue Bloods novels.

Lastly, as much as I enjoyed this read, I couldn't give it a 5 birdie rating because it took awhile for me to get into this one. It started out somewhat slow and I found myself putting the book down and finding other ways to occupy my time. However, I am so glad I stuck with it. The middle and ending are well worth the wait. I was almost breathless with anticipation when I got to the last word. Of course, since this is a series, there is a huge cliffhanger at the end. I just hope we don't have to wait too long for the next book!




One Last Gripe: The beginning was also somewhat confusing as I tried to figure out how the immortality worked for the witches. It is explained later on, but I found myself focusing on that element instead of enjoying the story. I would have liked that to be discussed earlier in the novel.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The links to the Salem Witch Trials and Norse Mythology

First Sentence: North Hampton did not exist on any map, which made locating the small, insular community  on the edge of the Atlantic coast something of a conundrum to outsiders, who were known to wonder  in by chance only to find it impossible to return; so that the place, with its remarkably empty silver-sand beaches, rolling green fields, and imposing, rambling farmhouses, became more of a half-remembered dream than a memory.

Favorite Character: Ingrid

Least Favorite Character: Corky Hutchinson



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.




4 comments:

  1. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I have it on my shelf now but I just haven't found the time to get to it yet. Other books keep pulling my attention. I haven't read any of this authors books so I'm looking forward to her writing. Great Review!

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  2. The cover makes it look appealing for young adults. I love historical fiction & witch stories so I'm looking forward to this one! Nice review! Really describing the book well and getting your thoughts out!

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  3. @acasualreader - I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

    @Jackie - It does kind of look like a YA cover and some older teens would be fine reading it, but I wouldn't want to see it in the hands of 13 year old or anything. Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Thanks sharing your honest thoughts and opinions about the book. I look forward to reading it now.

    ~Sherry
    Sherry Soule Official Website

    Author of the Spellbound Series

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