Melissa de la Cruz comes to the blog today with the first in The Beauchamp Family series, three women who live on the northeast corner of Long Island in a little town that isolates itself from the world. You may remember the television show by the same name that you can grab at Amazon, but here is the story narrated by Katie Schorr. Please read on for my review of
The Witches of East End
Starting with a bit of a hint to information coming later, travel to a little isolated village in the far northeast corner of Long Island to find the Beauchamp family: three women who have been suppressing their magical talents for years as a result of a punishment. Joanna, Ingrid and Freya are doing their best to ‘fit in’ to the town and not add to the gossip mill. Each has powers: and Joanna, while being their mother and more informed of the facts that brought them to this point, isn’t always free with that information where her daughters are concerned. Oh there is magic, and perhaps here is where Freya shines – the youngest, her magic is tied to her emotions, and often reacts in unexpected ways: from turning wine sour to making pretty little light shows. Her character actually brought a ton of light into the story, and the magic is enchanting. But, when you have a family with a long history, and a curse, then dribble the information out, piecemeal, with some moments feeling more staged to serve the ‘secret’ or ‘revelation’, than to serve the characters and story, what emerges is a bit convoluted, boggy and slow to move forward.
What de la Cruz has done is made a place and an atmosphere, with three women who alone would be compelling – but then guided their story with such a heavy hand in the ‘build’ for tension, that the final manipulations felt unnatural, and the information and explanations were half-complete, with Norse mythology, magic and history all mixed into one big ball of thread – tangling rather than weaving the bits together. It just wasn’t as engaging as I wanted, where I think the information could have come in ways that felt more organic and less in need of a series of ‘other reads’ to understand the history. Clever for the insights and Freya’s voice, and even Ingrid’s protectiveness was highlighted here, but I am curious, if not driven, to grab the next in the series to see if more answers will bring a sense of true understanding to these characters.
Narration for this story is provided by Katie Schorr – and while her voice is pleasant, and feels as if she could be Freya in the conversational presentation of the story, it wasn’t a performance of the book, it was more a pleasant reading of a title. There weren’t distinct changes in voice, tenor or tone to indicate different characters, no attempts to ‘alter’ the presentation for male voices, or to distinguish between narrative sentences and those of characters. Not unpleasant, but not a performance as one would expect. For a first introduction to both narrator and author, it was a solidly middle of the road sort of experience that leaves me hopeful that as the series continues, both will improve.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 2 Story 3
Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Beauchamp Family #1
Narrator: Katie Schorr
Published by: Hachette, Hachette Audio
Published on: 13 March, 2012
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 51 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
"Move over, zombies, vampires, and werewolves, and make way for witches. Melissa de la Cruz, author of the best-selling Blue Bloods series, ably sets the stage for a juicy new franchise." -Entertainment Weekly The three Beauchamp women-Joanna and her daughters, Freya and Ingrid-live ordinary lives in mist-shrouded North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. All three are harboring a centuries-old secret: They are powerful witches forbidden to practice magic. But right before Freya's planned wedding to wealthy Bran Gardiner, a mysterious and attractive man arrives in town and makes Freya question everything. When a young woman turns up dead, it soon becomes clear to all three that it's time to dust off their wands and fight the dark forces working against them.
With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, mythology, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil. "A bubbling cauldron of mystery and romance." -People "In her first novel for adults, the author . . . lets her repressed sorceresses rip." -The New York Times
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.