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Always a Witch: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Greene family has always been very talented–magically Talented, that is. Except for Tamsin. Instead of a Talent she had a cryptic prophecy from her grandmother declaring that Tamsin would one day be a beacon for her entire family.

At least, that’s what she thought for the first seventeen years of her life.

Now she knows the truth about her Talent and her family’s past. Unfortunately so does Alistair Knight and he’s gone back to Victorian era New York to share what he knows with his ancestors and possibly destroy the Greene family forever.

With Alistair Traveling to the past, time is running out and Tamsin realizes she has no choice but to follow.  Alone in 1895 New York Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the Knight mansion. She still has a crucial role to play in her family’s struggle with the Knights even if she isn’t sure what that role is yet. All she knows for sure is that it will involve a terrible sacrifice and, in the end, she may not have any choice at all in Always a Witch (2011) by Carolyn MacCullough.

Always a Witch is the sequel to MacCullough’s delightful novel Once a Witch.

As some regular readers might already know, Carolyn MacCullough is one of my favorite authors of all time and also an author I was lucky enough to meet a while back which remains one of the high points of . . . my life. All sounds like tangential information unless you got to see a galley of Always a Witch.

On the covers of the advanced reader copies (and in the image attached to this post) part of my review of Once a Witch was quoted. There are a lot of reasons for any reader to love this book but for me a lot of that love is wrapped up in MacCullough being one of my favorite authors and also my excitement at being quoted on the galleys* and being so fond of these characters.

In other words, I’m delighted my words got to endorse this book, however briefly. (The quote didn’t make it to the final cover but I’ll always have the galleys.)

Once a Witch was a clever urban fantasy with an original take on magic as well as a fast-paced, funny and entertaining story. It was a delightful introduction to Tamsin and her world. Always a Witch is just as good as the first–maybe even better. Definitely good enough that I finished it in one day.

Family is still a central element of this book, as it should be when the family is as splendid as the Greenes, but there is a lot more to this story with the extended time travel and Tamsin’s choice looming throughout the narrative.

As a sequel there is always the risk of summarizing too little or explaining too much. MacCullough strikes a perfect balance of summary and new material here. The inimitable Gabriel also returns along with other favorite characters. Tamsin’s same fierce love for her family permeates these pages.

Always a Witch is a great fantasy with a well-realized look at old New York besides. Tamsin is one of my favorite heroines with her strength, resilience and general charm. Like Once a Witch before it, this book is a wonderful story about family and love and, yes, about magic too.

*I’ve had to sit on this information since December because the pub date was so far away. I also wasn’t sure if the cover was finalized yet–I first saw it on a galley when a colleague pointed it out–and it’s been absolute torture waiting to share this big news with you, dear readers. The news is slightly less big since the quote isn’t on the final cover but I decided to mention it anyway because the quote was such a big part of my experience with this book.

You can also read my exclusive interview with Carolyn MacCullough!

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, Pivot Point by Kasie West

Exclusive Bonus Content: Let’s take a moment to consider the titles together. See where I’m going here?

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