Always A Witch (Witch, Book 2)
By Carolyn MacCullough
Release Date: August 1st, 2011
2011 Clarion Books
E-book Edition; 291 Pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher through NetGalley
4 / 5 Stars
Though she should be enjoying her new boyfriend, Gabriel, or discovering more about her newfound magical "Talents," she's too busy dealing with her sister, Rowena's bride-zilla wedding demands and worrying about the resurgence of her enemy, Alistair Knight. But most of all, Tamsin is haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision. A choice so terrible, that it could destroy her family forever.
When Tamsin discovers that Alistair successfully went back in time to Victorian Era New York, in order to destry the Greene family, she's forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the 19th century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, bustling about as a servant, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the lascivious advances Liam Knight. As times runs out, Tamsin's brash demeanor and sardonic wit place her in the center of the fray as both families square off in a thrilling display of action and magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.
I really enjoyed this novel as I followed Tamsin's journey into her exploration of her Talents and the discovery of what she really needed to do and sacrifice in order to keep her family alive and safe in the future. Time travel is one of the things I have always enjoyed reading and Ms. MacCullough draws you into the past seamlessly and effortlessly so that you feel you are there with Tamsin and Gabriel as they fight the Knight family and try to keep the future on track.
What I really enjoyed about the book is the sense of family and deep loyalty that family inspires. Despite the fact that Tamsin has always felt like an outsider in her own family due to her lack of Talent, when her Talent finally emerges, she has to now cope with her changing role in her family. Her other family members also have to adjust their thinking, but old habits die hard and sometimes Tamsin has a hard time having people accept her opinions or her ideas with regards to magic. Her wild and crazy family actually made me smile on many an occasion as I can relate so easily to them; my family is very similar and it felt comfortable and easy. I also understood where Tamsin was coming from, and how frustrating it can be. When events transpire one evening, and catch Tamsin and her family unawares, Tamsin must take matters in her own hands, and sneak into the past in order to set things to rights.
I really enjoyed Tamsin's role as servant in the Knight household in the nineteenth century. I always enjoy these descriptions as it amazes me how hard these girls worked and the long hours they worked as well. The descriptions from 'behind the scenes' so to speak is always fascinating and I like hearing and seeing things from the servants point of view. It also amazes me how servants were so often treated like pieces of furniture and how much they actually knew and saw in a household must have been incredible. If only they could have written their own biographies, we would have such a rich description of people in the past!!
The romance between Gabriel and Tamsin continues in the novel. I adore Gabriel, and I always enjoy the witty dialogue between these two, but the romance really took a back seat in Always A Witch and focused more on the mystery and suspense involving the rivalry between the Knight and Greene families and how either may lose their powers, and/or their livelihoods, in the future. It didn't bother me that the romance wasn't the most important part of this story as I enjoyed learning about the history of the two families and how the rivalry began in the first place. While the plausible reasons were a little weak, I still found the writing to be interesting and enjoyed it tremendously.
Always A Witch was a satisfactory sequel to Once A Witch, and although the ending had a surprising twist I wasn't expecting, I still felt the novel ended the way it should have. The novel had fun and witty dialogue, suspenseful moments, engaging characters, and a satisfying ending; I would recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for an engaging, quick read.