31st October, 2022
Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (Hodder & Stoughton)
Happy All Hallows Eve, everyone! Just in time for Halloween, I have a lovely recommendation for your. While my previous reviews this months were of books of the sinister and creepy kind, Sangu Mandanna's novel is witchy but endearing and uplifting:
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules...with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos "pretending" to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn't the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for....
This book was like an autumnal hug: warm, enchanting, comforting. It gave me Practical Magic vibes throughout (well, early Practical Magic before the whole dead body shenanigans ;-)) and I absolutely adored the characters. Mika was an amazing protagonist, Ian and his 'entourage' were deliciously quirky, Jamie was simply mind bogglingly sexy and the girls... *sigh* the girl were just about perfect.
Of course, the plot itself is a bit predictable, but what I loved about Mandanna's story was the simple beauty of it. Yes, there is conflict but it's solvable (even if it might not seem like it to the characters at first), and what is more important in this novel is the development of relationships. It was the perfect book for these uncertain times because it gives hope and joy. It's about the simple things in life and about the little bits that matter most.
If you would like a seasonal read with lots of heart, do pick up The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. Prepare to be enchanted though. ;-)
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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