ARC provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications.
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The Witches of East End is the first novel that I’ve read by author Melissa de la Cruz. The book is about the Beauchamp family of witches, Joanna and her two daughters, Ingrid and Freya who live in the small town of North Hampton on the tip of Long Island. Unfortunately, the three women have been banned by the White Council from ever using their powers again and must learn to live as humans--as drab and unassuming as possible. Ms. de la Cruz does a spectacular job of doling out tantalizing tidbits in small doses like a fine appetizer making you crave more and more. The frequent references to Norse mythology added another enjoyable element to the story.
The story opens with the engagement party of youngest daughter Freya. Everything is perfect until she meets her fiancé’s attractive brother, Killian. From there it is one shocking twist and turn after another including a vicious attack on a couple walking along the beach, a murder of a young woman, a slew of dead birds and a silver mass bubbling up from the ocean. All of these things are unthinkable and have never happened in North Hampton before.
Freya is the first one to break the White Council’s ruling of no magic, but soon Ingrid and Joanna follow suit. None of them could ever foresee what was about to happen. It doesn’t take long for the people of the town to connect the recent evil invading their quaint community to the Beauchamp witches and their magic. Scenes of déjà vu and the horror of the Salem Witch trials could happen once again if the Beauchamp witches don’t get to the bottom of the mystery and figure out exactly what or who is behind the evil. With zombies and vampires rounding out the cast of witches, the story is full of fun and interesting characters.
I thought the author could have been a little more inventive with Joanna’s character. Relegating such a powerful witch to a ho-hum little housekeeper who constantly re-paints rooms and gardens seems like a major disservice to this character. In much the same way that Freya is over the top in her sensuality, Joanna is very lackluster, but perhaps the author was trying to balance them out. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it when the women all started to use them magic once again even if some of the consequences were a bit far-fetched.
The story concludes with one last shocking twist—one that is perfect for setting up the sequel. This book is geared for an adult audience although some of it still reads like Young Adult. I hope Ms. de la Cruz will include more scenes of the women using their powers to the fullest. Now that they have been outed as witches, I am looking forward to seeing what befalls the Beauchamp women in the next book. Recommended.