Monday, March 16, 2015

No, this isn't Stars Hollow - Housewitch Review

TITLE: Housewitch: A Novel
AUTHOR: Katie Schickel
PUBLISHER: Forge Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 17, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: Allison Darling, former foster child, now a stay-at-home mom of three, desperately wants to fit in with the organic latte drinking, hundred-dollar-yoga-pants-wearing moms who run Monrovia, her charming seaside village. Constantly feeling like an outsider, Allison dreams of more for her children. When the Glamour Girls, a soap-selling company run by the most charismatic and powerful women in town, recruits Allison, she jumps at the invitation. The Glamour Girls have a hand in everything in Monrovia, from bake sales to business deals. This is what Allison’s wanted her whole life—to be liked. To be popular. To belong. After Allison’s estranged mother passes away, she learns her family’s heartbreaking legacy and the secret Allison’s been fighting to suppress all her life emerges: she’s a witch. What’s more, she’s not the only one in town. There’s more to the Glamour Girls than it seems… and once you’re a Glamour Girl, there’s no going back. Allison must use her rediscovered magic to defend Monrovia, protect her marriage and her children, and reclaim her legacy. Fighting tooth and nail for her family is easy, but what about for herself? Is it too late to confront her own demons and become the woman she dreams of being?

MY THOUGHTS: A few days after I finished this book, I changed my rating...and that feeling of uncertainty about sums up my experience with Housewitch. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, well, that isn't true, I actually anticipated a cozy mystery...which it was not. I suppose it is closer to fantasy, which is how my library characterized it.

Allison grew up in foster care, but was born the daughter of a powerful witch. She ends up living with her husband and two children in Monrovia, a town which seems a tad bit too Stepford Wife-ish for me. She finds out a coven of witches, known as the Glamour Gals, basically owns and runs the town, and the head witch, has some nefarious plans for everyone in it. (I should note I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan and the fact that every time I saw "Glamour Gals" my mind raced to Stars Hollow did negatively effect my reading flow initially).

This book was at times funny, sad, interesting and slow. Once I realized what the book was more about, the pace did speed up and it was an enjoyable read. This is Schickel's first novel and she definitely has talent and I look forward to reading future works.

The main thing I didn't like about this book is Allison's extreme need to belong in Monrovia. I know she felt abandoned as a child, and this played greatly into her actions, but I kept wanting to shake her and say "You're a witch for heaven's sake, make something happen and stop being a doorstop!" However, Allison does redeem herself and becomes more likable.

The best thing about this book was Jonathan and Jinathan - the dwarfs. Ms. Schickel, if you are reading this review, please, they need their own story.


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