Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Witches of East End
The Beauchamp Family Book # 1
by Melissa de la Cruz

Genre: Contemporary Romance | Fantasy

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 Killian, and sparks fly when the two decide to play a dangerous game, 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, small-town secrets, 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.

Witches of East End revolves around two sisters and their mother in a small coastal town. With a long, colorful & paranormal past, all the Beauchamp women currently settle for a mundane lifestyle within the community while silently mourning the loss of their powers. When tragedy strikes, the family chooses to take risks using their forbidden magic for good which in turn gives them each a new purpose in life. With the plot colliding between such movies scripts as "Thor" and "Practical Magic", these powerful witches/women created by de la Cruz discover joy, adventure, heart-ache, and inner strength in this new magical series.

While all the Beauchamp ladies are "neither old nor young", "their physical appearances [correspond] to their particular talents" (pg. 29) :

Freya, the young vibrant one, can pull off looking within the age ranges of 16-23 and has a passion of igniting passion and is often characterized as "the first blush of Love". She can easily brew concoctions for all types of romance, but internally struggles with her own upcoming marriage.

Ingrid, the strong silent type, works for the locally under-funded library and can appear "anywhere from 27-35" years old. Known as the "Keeper of the Hearth," she is mostly stubborn and strongly believes in the rules (especially regarding her job), but slowly lets down her rigid guard in more ways than one throughout the book.

Joanna, the wise mother, has the heart of a child but carries the features "of an older woman in her early sixties". She's been around for centuries and carries dark secrets from her daughter while anguishing over past losses.

I had high hopes for this book, eagerly anticipating the whole witch theme since I'm a fan of de la Cruz's Blue Blood series, but, sadly, this story was a let down. To me, it felt like it was all over the place, either in the present or past, either in this sisters head or a side characters and, honestly, I would expect that from a book later on in a well-rounded series, but not from the first story. In my opinion, the tale would have flowed better if the author would have stuck to one family member per book - it would have created more interesting character development, a richer in-depth setting, and helped the reader better grasp this new
Beauchamp world full of witchy powers. Yet, what the reader received at the end of page 323 was a jumble of short stories that felt more like an anthology than an actual novel.

Other than that, the story dragged immensely, but I'm still holding out that this series can turn itself around since it took reading the first three books chronologically of de la Cruz's popular vampire series to become a favorite on mine. These characters have promise, the current story did contain some nice twist/turns, and the plot (though slightly lacking right now) can really expand into many intriguing areas in the future - IF - the author would actually work on creating a tale meant more for an adult audience (since Witches of East End could easily fall into the 'advance' young adult category -- nothing too hot & heavy/ deadly & devious in this tale to cast it into an "R" rating) So, here's hoping that something 'wicked' cool comes from the Beauchamp women in Book #2!

I'd be tempted to taste Freya's new cocktail menu at the North Inn Bar :)

Dislikes: I wanted to get immersed in the story, but due to the plot being all over the place I was overwhelmed more often than not.


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