Mundie Moms

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review: Always A Witch

Written by: Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published Date: August 1, 2011
Source: netgalley
5 out of 5 stars - This book is a must have. Don't wait, go pick up the series now!

Synopsis: The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

Well established weaknesses for me include: time travel, magic, stubborn girls and boys who always, but always do the right thing. Need I go on to add that yes, Carolyn, hit them all.

Let me start by saying that I completely admire Carolyn's ability to plot a two story arc and then gracefully execute it until the very last page when that one thing mentioned in the first book (that was oh so important) comes back full circle. Yes, I'm trying hard to keep this spoiler-free so forgive a true, fan-girly moment here. But this is not just a well written story with characters I want to spend time with in real life (remember the fan-girl warning) but it packs an unexpected action plot line and draws in characters from the first book with new ones from the second in such an elegant way that I couldn’t help finishing the book in a day. I think the only word I had left when I closed the cover was “whoa”. I was in shock at how Carolyn brought all these wonderful, detailed elements from Once A Witch around to the sequel and quietly led me down the path of her plot until piece by piece every single thing made sense to Tamsin and well, to me.

And don’t worry, Mundie Moms, one of my favorite fictional boys ever, Gabriel, is still there. In fact here he is from page 12 when he and Tamsin are tempted to taste some of the sweets her mother is preparing for Rowena’s wedding:
“Mhmm,” I say, licking the icing from the corner of my mouth. “It’s good. Even if it’s probably poisonous. Go on, I dare you.”
            Gabriel narrows his eyes a me, then takes the remainder of the cake from my fingers and eats it in one gulp.
            “Some of it,” my mother answers, inspecting a fork. “And stop hanging on the door,” she admonishes absentmindedly. “It’ll break again and I’m tired of having Chester fix the refrigerator. The last time he fixed it, it sang ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ every time opened it. It drove me insane.”
            Gabriel inhales on a laugh, then begins choking on cake crumbs. Alarmed, my mother whirls aroud. “Which one did you eat?” she cries.
            “The chocolate flower one,” I say, “Will he live?” I help myself to another cake, this one covered in sugar violets. “Is this one okay?” I ask, and then pop it into my mouth.
            My mother closes her eyes briefly, “Yes.”
            “Yes I’ll live or yes the second cake that she just ate is okay? It’s kind of important that you be specific here,” Gabriel says.
This quote also illustrates how much of this book is about family – past and present. They are all around Tamsin. They are part of who she was and is and well, they’re definitely her mystery to solve. I can’t emphasize how much I love them and their fierce loyalty to one another. It reminds me of my own family and I swear we have an Uncle Chester, too.

If you haven’t picked up this series, don’t wait, you’ve got to meet Tamsin, Gabriel, Rowena and yes, even the Knights. A huge thank you to Carolyn for making this Mundie Mom stay up way past her bedtime. It was worth every hour of lost sleep.


  1. What a great review Sophie! I can not wait to read this!!

  2. I really like the sound of this one! I've never actually read what its about, though I've seen the cover around a lot. Thanks for the review!

  3. Thanks MMs!

    Hafsah - I really like the series and hope more people pick it up. So well written.

  4. Thanks for the great review. I'll have to read this series.

  5. Natalie - It's definitely a series I love. Hope you do, too.