Thursday, November 19, 2009

Review--Once a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch
by Carolyn MacCullough
Clarion Books
September 2009

I received this ARC from The Picnic Basket. I read through it quickly and can only imagine how eagerly YA readers will embrace this novel once they pass the word around. My niece will be getting my copy and I know her head will be stuck behind the cover, hunkered in her bedroom for a night. It is marketed for the Age 12+ market, but adults looking for a unique plot written by a creatively inquisitive author will enjoy a peek at this too. I loved it and would not be surprised to hear MacCullough plans a sequel. Here is my review/comments that were posted on The Picnic Basket blog.


It would be too obvious a word choice to say I was spellbound by the story and characters of Carolyn MacCullough’s coming of age story. However, spellbound in an enchanting pleasant way accurately describes my reading of Once a Witch. It is a spicy blend of sorcery, mystery and just enough of a romantic attraction to keep sparks flying.

Tamsin Green is an odd seemingly Talentless misfit of a witch growing up in an extended family of witches who all have interesting powers. At birth, her grandmother foretold that Tamsin would have great power such as the family had never seen. So, as the years pass it is with much surprise that Tamsin exhibits no talent at all. With great disappointment Tamsin grows up lacking any signs of Talent. She lives in the shadows of her sister Rowena’s grace and glory. One day mistaken identity provides Tamsin the opportunity to prove her value. She accepts a challenge that takes her beyond her corporeal capabilities.

The story evolved around a question the author asked herself about the character Tamsin. What would it be like to be born into a magical family with no magical talent?

MacCullough wondered: “How would she cope in a family like that? What kind of person would that make her be? Her story and her thought process provide young writers with a unique perspective as she provides the scaffold for the story. Further fun can be found at her sites and

Once a Witch, inspires the reader to examine the unique talent, unique beauty that is often untapped, hidden or unrealized within ourselves. I would highly recommend this novel for middle and high school age students.


serendipity_viv said...

ANother one I forgot to put on my Christmas wish list. Never mind. It sounds awesome.

How are you? Haven't seen you blogging much in ages.Hope you are OK.

Marie Cloutier said...

sounds like a good book for that age group. thanks for the review!

Blodeuedd said...

Oh I remember seeing this somewhere and wondering what it would be like. Glad to hear it was good

The Bookworm said...

this does sound very good.
great review!