North Hampton is a town no one seems to be able to find until they actually arrive. Shrouded in mystery, North Hampton seems to exist in its own time – as do three of its residents, the Beauchamp women: Joanna and her daughters Ingrid and Freya. All three are hiding a big secret. They are powerful, immortal witches banned from using their magic. Then, one summer, just as Freya is planning her wedding to wealthy Bran Gardiner, things start happening. Suddenly, the Beauchamp women are using their magic again and strange incidents are taking place all across town. Soon, Joanna, Ingrid and Freya realize that they may be the target of this evil energy and they’ll have to use all of their talents to find out who’s working against them – and why.
Continuing on with my witch streak, an random search led me to Melissa de la Cruz’s Witches of East End. I’m vaguely familiar with de la Cruz as an author, though I haven’t read her Blue Bloods series. As such, I didn’t really have many expectations when I started reading Witches of East End, so I was happily surprised by the depth of the story and the unique spin on witches and magic. It’s a deceptive book. On its surface, it appears to be a book about mother and daughter witches fighting evil. It’s really only in retrospect that you’re able to appreciate all the little seeds and hints de la Cruz plants along the way, revealing a much deeper story.
Witches of East End is written in third-person omniscient, but with a twist. Each chapter pivots to a different point of view (Joanna’s, Ingrid’s or Freya’s), so readers get little snapshots of moments in time with each of these three women. While we don’t know what the townspeople are thinking, we do come to know the Beauchamp women intimately. de la Cruz has created three distinct and wholly individual characters in Joanna, Ingrid and Freya. Each woman has her own magical talents, which – not surprisingly – connect with her personality traits. While I liked all three women, I found myself most drawn on Ingrid. Cautious and thoughtful, Ingrid lack’s Freya’s wild-child behavior, but still longs to break free from their centuries-long punishment and help others. Of all the Beauchamp women, I feel like Witches of East End showcases Ingrid’s blossoming most of all.
This is still a novel about magic, of course, so there are plenty of spells, charms and potions between the pages. I especially liked how de la Cruz tied the Beauchamp’s history into the book’s current events. Throughout the story, the echoes of their past are present and yo get the sense that someone or something wants the women’s magic to get them in trouble again. As the novel progresses, de la Cruz also weaves in Norse mythology, which I really loved. It was a different take on traditional witch stories and added another layer to the story.
As Halloween approaches, witches are in the air and Melissa de la Cruz’s Witches of East End is the perfect novel to curl up with on a cold and dark fall night. With it’s own approach to the witchcraft and magical history, a perfectly realized Long Island town, and three strong, well-developed female lead characters, de la Cruz has started a fantastic new series. (The second book in the series was released in July 2012.)
[Photo Credit: Goodreads]