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The further I got into this book, the more my engagement with it diminished. It's got some of the right ingredients: the setting is well conceived and the magical objects are pretty cool, I do concede. But for me, that adventure was not what it ought to be. It all happens thanks to a villain who isn't anything to do with the wider plot, and whose involvement (and in fact his disappearance from the story at the convenient time) is contrived at every stage. The magic is also manipulated for storytelling convenience; the rules of this fantasy world are not clear, and there are too many inconsistencies. Call me pedantic, but there were quite a few stages where I thought something didn't make sense, resigned myself to it, and then straight off the back of it came something else that made no sense whatsoever. This book isn't for me.
This is quite simply the best children’s book that I have read in a long time, with more than just a pinch of magic I was completely hooked from the very start. Before long I felt fully invested in the characters, urging for them to succeed in all of their endeavours. While reading the book I knew it would be a massive hit with my year 6 class - we have a sign up sheet for who gets to read it next and everyone who has had their turn so far has devoured it. With fantastic language and gripping plot lines I know that my pupils will be both challenged and entertained while reading this. I haven’t been as hooked by a children’s book since reading the Harry Potter series as a child and teenager myself. A truly fantastic novel to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
I really enjoyed this book. An original and well-told story about 3 sisters who discover not only have they inherited a series of magical objects, they have also inherited a terrible curse, constricting them to the small island they live on. If they leave, they will die. As the girls attempt to deal with the aftermath of this news, they try to discover more about the mysterious curse and the connection with Sorsha, a girl who fell from the prison tower long ago. Interesting characters, and unpredictable plot.
This is the fantastic,atmospheric and absorbing story of three sisters , a deathly curse and the magical objects that may doom or save the siblings from a century old, dark destiny. A Pinch of Magic hooked me immediately with the dark and brooding setting of Crowstone and the mysterious past history of it's feared prison and tower and the imprisoned Witch bent on revenge. In the present day of the story , the Widdershin sisters learn of the curse that now follows them and are a force to be reckoned with. It's impossible not to be charmed,engaged and emotionally invested in each one of them during their frantic quest to beat the curse that binds them to remain in the dank misery of Crowestone or face certain death. There is danger and treachery around every corner and just the right level of threat and fear for the reader's nerves to jangle. The story pits the loyalty and the trust of the Widdershin sisters (despite their differences) against the betrayal and jealousy of the past where young witch Sorcha's magic is exposed by bitter ,cruel sister Prue and sets in motion a handed down curse against Prue's future relations. Add two escaped prisoners , who add both elements of real villiany and real friendship to the sisters and you have a nail biting journey of a tale. Many years ago , as a young reader, I fell in love with the dramas of the March sisters in Little Women and now I have a whole new sisterly set of siblings to hopefully follow and be captivated by with the Widdershin girls!
My thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio U.K. for a review copy via NetGalley of the audiobook edition of ‘A Pinch of Magic’ by Michelle Harrison. It was published in March 2019. I already own its Kindle edition and did a dual read/listen for an immersive reading experience.
The audiobook is unabridged, with a run time of 8 hours, 44 minutes at 1x. It is narrated by Nicky Diss.
‘A Pinch of Magic’ is the kind of children’s fiction suitable for ages 9-99. It focuses upon the three Widdershins sisters, Betty, Fliss, and Charlie. They live with their grandmother, Bunny, in their family’s pub, The Poacher’s Pocket, on the isle of Crowstone. When they discover that the women of their family are cursed, they seek a way to break it and end up having adventures.
While this novel works fine as a stand-alone, it is the first in the Widdershins Sisters trilogy. The second ‘A Sprinkle of Sorcery’ was published in February and the final book due in early 2021.
I have read a couple of Michelle Harrison‘s previous novels and found them both delightful. ‘A Pinch of Magic’ confirmed my admiration for her work. It was wonderful, full of magic and adventures and infused with gentle humour.
The audiobook’s narrator, Nicky Diss, has narrated a number of Michelle Harrison’s titles for Simon & Schuster Audio. Her voice is rich and warm, with a wide range that created a sense of the individual characters. I felt that she did an excellent job of bringing the novel vividly to life.
Heart warming book that is definitely worth reading. I’m not the targeted age group (I suspect it’s for young teenage readers), but enjoyed it nevertheless. Beautiful narrative and excellent characterisation of the sisters. It set the scene beautifully from the first page and trapped me in a world of intrigue and mystery, right up until the very end. Well crafted story telling at its best!
Couldn't put this book down, and now really excited to add it to my Year 5 class library. Wonderful story about family and history and overcoming adversity. Here's hoping for further books about the sisters. Beautifully written.