Book Reviews

Review: “Witches of East End,” Melissa de la Cruz

August 23, 2011
Review: “Witches of East End,” Melissa de la CruzWitches of East Endby Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Beauchamp Family #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on June, 2011
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Witches
Pages: 272

The three Beauchamp women–Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid–live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret–they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it’s time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

Melissa de la Cruz has definitely taken a step away from the Young Adult genre to deliver us Witches of East End. An incredibly great start to a new series, one which I’ll be following without a doubt!

I want to start by saying that I’m not a fan of Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Blood series. I’ve read the first one and to be honest it wasn’t my thing. When I saw Melissa had a new series out, I was hesitant but decided to give it a shot since the cover was absolutely gorgeous and this time around the focus was on a family of witches! I didn’t know, however, that it was set in the same ‘world’ as Blue Bloods and was in fact NOT YA fiction, but a series for adults.

I wouldn’t recommend readers under the age of sixteen/seventeen to read this one. There are quite a few love scenes, and while I’m not too sure about the Blue Bloods series, I think this’ll be a shock for readers expecting more of the same.

But, I really adored Witches of East End! It’s a bit like the TV show Charmed, but with wands and a murder mystery. Freya and Ingrid were interesting characters, as was their mother, Joanna. The narrative alternates between the three, and their past is slowly revealed as the pages turn. Sometimes the characters would be referring to ‘something’ I didn’t know, as if they expected us as readers to be already clued in, so this confused me a little. But, we soon learn a little about the Beauchamp history which helps. That being said, there’s still quite a LOT I didn’t quite grasp or understand, a quite a bit that will be revealed in the later books.

The youngest sister, Freya, specializes in Love magic. I found her storyline to be the most fast-paced and exciting one of the lot, although I didn’t quite relate to her as well as I did her older sister, Ingrid. Freya is currently juggling a relationship between her sweet fiancee, Bran, along with a steamy affair on the side with his sexy younger brother, Killian. It certainly kept things interesting and entertaining.

Then we have Ingrid, the eldest Beauchamp daughter who works at the local library. Ingrid is smart and intelligent, and specializes in seeing the future as well as helping her friends and neighbours. She’s quite conservative and a little hesitant, and I felt a little more at home in her skin than I did in Freya’s. However, her storyline got a little dull at some points.

Then lastly, for this book at least, we have Joanna, the mother of the girls and eldest of the Beauchamp women. Joanna’s story centres on the relationship she forms with the housekeeper’s son, and how she misses her own son who was taken away from them so long ago. Not much is revealed about Freya’s twin brother, right until the end, and from that cliffhanger I can’t wait to read the second novel in the series!

My only qualm with this story was the way things were explained and tied together in the final chapters. I felt there was no climax to the story, no big ‘revealation’ – instead we got a lot of ‘mini explanations’ that hardly delivered any impact. I almost read this book in a single hit, so I was a little disappointed not to find myself reeling in the final chapters. The tense moments were almost breezed through, with everything being shoved at us within the space of a few chapters. When it was over I thought ‘is that it?’.

Despite all that, I found myself quite attached to the sisters and Joanna, and I definitely want to delve into their world again. Witches of East End is a trip back to classic ‘witchdom’, with wands and brooms and familiars. There’s some great stuff in here! For fans of Blue Bloods, you’ll be pleased to know some of the characters make cameo appearances, particularly Mimi Force.

Recommended to: Younger readers should be wary of mature content, but over all this is a very enjoyable read and great start to a new series. I’ll definitely be following it!

About Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!). She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.


  • Reply Book Reviews From The Basement August 24, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I really want to read it!:)

  • Reply Sasha August 24, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Sounds like an exciting book! Especially since most fantasy fiction these days concerns vampires and werewolves, reading about witches seems like a refreshing read.

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