Witches of East End
By: Melissa de la Cruz
Disney – Hyperion
Published: June 21st, 2011
From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz’s first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.
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.
The Witches of East End is an addictingly fun book to read and I didn’t want to put it down. The sisters are incredibly different from one another, like yin and yang. Freya is more free-spirited and emotional than her serious and aloof sister Ingrid. It allows the reader to connect with a similar soul and relate to the book more. I frequently see pairings like that, allowing the extrovert to find their favourite character in one and the introvert in the other.
Generally, this book is suitable for teens and adults but there were a few sections that I don’t know I would want a teenager to read. To make this book more accessible, I would have mentioned that the two characters were having sex, without vaguely describing a few of the things that were happening. It was just a little too explicit to want to recommend to teens. In young adult novels, the act may occur but that is usually the extent of what you read.
The plot was enjoyable overall, if not entirely well thought out. I found myself on Chapter 41 and enjoying the novel. Suddenly, the entire plot was thrown on its side, scrambled up, and shoved into a 30-second Norse Mythology book. It seems as if the author just wanted to get all of her thoughts and storylines into the book… in the last 30 pages. Thus far it had been relatable and realistic, despite the fact that zombies, demons, fallen angels/vampires, and witches were in the book. Those last 30 pages were completely rushed and confusing. The characters come to incredible conclusions with almost no prompting, secrets are revealed, and the threads that were woven within the story are just conveniently put in their place. The ending completely threw me, not because of the mythology (as I love mythology and understood the roots/stories she pulled from) but because it wasn’t well written. The book would have been much more appealing if the final 30 pages were explained and fleshed out in another novel. It seemed to rushed, like the author saw she had written over 230 pages and needed to get everything out before she ran out of her 270 page allotment.
Despite the decent world building and character development, as well as the rushed ending, I really enjoyed reading the book. I recommend it to readers who enjoy mythology, fantasy, stories about witches, but particularly to older teen readers or people in their twenties.