“It’s the beginning of summer in North Hampton, and beautiful Freya Beauchamp is celebrating her engagement to wealthy Bran Gardiner, the heir to Fair Haven and Gardiners Island. But Freya is drawn to Bran’s gorgeous but unreliable brother Liam, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game of desire, following an ancient story of love, betrayal and tragedy that harks back to the days of Valhalla.
Witches of East End follows the Beauchamp family—the formidable matriarch Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. Freya, a sexy bartender, has a potion to cure every kind of heartache, while Ingrid, the local librarian, solves complicated domestic problems with her ability to tie magical knots. Joanna is the witch to see when modern medicine has no more answers; her powers can wake the dead. Everything seems to be going smoothly until a young girl, Molly Lancaster, goes missing after taking one of Freya’s irresistible cocktails. As more of the town’s residents begin disappearing, everyone seems to have the same suspects in mind: the Beauchamp women.
Fraught with love affairs and witchcraft, Witches of East End will capture any reader who craves a page-turning, heart-stopping story of myth and magic from an author who knows how to deliver”.
Warning: due to this novel using elements of the author’s previous books in a different series, this review may be spoiler-y for some.
Witches of East End is Melissa de la Cruz’s first book for adults. Having been of fan of hers since her the days of her magazine journalism and the Au Pairs series, and also a huge lover of the Blue Bloods books, I have been eagerly awaiting Melissa’s first foray into adult fiction for ages.
It even made my 11 Must Reads of 2011 list!
Witches definitely does not disappoint. While the novel could have been a bit longer, the story by no means felt short, or unfinished. I found writing for an adult audience to be a nice change for Melissa. She has always catered to a more mature (if not in age, in mentality) audience, so writing an adult novel seems to be a natural progression for her.
After a slow first chapter or so, the story kicks off with a bang. Ummm, literally. It’s no secret that an adulterous tryst takes place very early on in the story. But it does not in any way overshadow the rest of the plot! I’ve seen a handful of reviewers on Goodreads saying the adultery ruined the book for them. When it comes to immortal fictional characters who have lived, lets just say much longer lives than most of us can expect to, I do not feel as if said characters should be held up to normal human morals and standards.
Even more importantly, for all the reviewers & readers spazzing out over Freya’s affair, especially those who DNF the book: reading about it doesn’t mean you have to condone it! And, fortunately it really does all makes sense in the end.
I feel that only truly great authors can write characters who do despicable things, yet make you still care about them. Along with the adultery, Freya, Ingrid, and Joanna make plenty of bad choices. They keep harmful secrets. They don’t heed potential omens and warnings. They begin practicing magic again, but solo, without telling each other. They make mistakes with vast consequences. Yet their love for each other holds them together, until once again luck is on their side. In many ways, Witches is as much a tale of the relationships between mothers and daughters as it is a story about three women practicing magic.
* Melissa’s world-building is always phenomenal. WOEE is no different! Mysteries and secrets are slowly exposed, without ever giving too much away at once. And the way MDLC incorporates historical details and facts into her stories is beyond comparison.
* Cameo appearances from Blue Bloods characters. It made me even more anxious for Lost In Time.
* The Norse mythology incorporated within the story. The way it fits together with the witchcraft= AWESOME.
* The huge variety of paranormal characters/beings included in the story.
* There is a cliffhanger, but not an “I want to throw this book across the room” when I’m finished cliffhanger. Thank you, Melissa, for not torturing your readers.
* Just the fact that Melissa wrote one adult novel makes me hopeful for more in the future!
* Honestly, the cover. It just doesn’t do it for me. And I’m not sure what it has to do with the story contained inside. The cover screams “Fall!” to me, while the book takes place during the Summer.
* And of course, I am not a fan of having to wait over a year for Book #2 (Rumored to be entitled “The Serpent’s Kiss”!)
I’d recommend Witches to new fans of Melissa de la Cruz looking for a delicious and quick reading experience. Note: You do not need to read the Blue Bloods series beforehand. But reading at least book #1 would lead to a much better understanding of events in this book.
Overall Witches of East End was a fast, fun, and sexy read. Perfect for both a day at the beach, or just lying around the house. It’s a total guilty pleasure read, without a dumbed down storyline, or cheesy writing.
I can’t wait to learn more about the Beauchamp family backstory in Book #2!
Witches of East End will be released by Hyperion, June 21, 2011.
Disclosure: I received my copy of Witches of East End at BEA.