Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (September 14, 2009)
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Grade 9 Up—It's hard to be the only normal one in a family in which everyone has a Talent that allows them to do such things as disappear, control the weather, read the future, or turn people to stone. Tamsin is bitter that she does not have a magical gift and dreams of the day she can move far away. So when a mysterious Scottish stranger, Alistair, shows up at her family's bookstore and assumes that the 17-year-old is her very Talented sister, Rowena, Tamsin jumps at the chance to help him find the family heirloom for which he is searching. She enlists the help of her childhood friend, Gabriel, who has recently reappeared in her life. Tamsin and Gabriel travel through time to find what sinister Alistair wants, and in doing so they will set in motion a chain of events that could mean the destruction of her family. Although Tamsin is a well-rounded character, the other people in the book are fairly one-dimensional. What is lacking in character development, though, is made up for in plot. This is an exciting book, and readers will be captivated until the very end.
When I picked up this book I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. However, it is about Witches, Talents, romance, action/adventure, and one horrible bad guy. I really liked this book, I liked Tamsin's character. Gabriel was such a great love interest also, I liked the fact that they were childhood friends. After long many years of not talking, they just picked up where they left off. It made the storyline very believable and heartwarming. Rowena, (Tamsin's sister) was very beautiful, until she got hooked up with the professor (the horrrrible bad guy), and then all hell breaks loose.
The book gets really good when Gabriel and Tamsin starts to time travel, it always felt very realistic when they would go back in time. The author made you really feel as if you were in 1939. Description of the clothing, and their surroundings were very believable. I really think I was born in the wrong era, my children tell me that all the time. I would love to time travel (with Gabriel) :)
This story really had it all, I just told you about the time travel and I mentioned earlier about the romance and suspense. What I haven't really mentioned was, each of the witches had a Talent. Everyone in Tamsin's family is a witch and each one of them has a specialty they can do. If I had a Talent, it would be that I never grow old or get wrinkles. haha
MacCullough did a fantastic job writing this book. It was a very easy read, and it flowed very well. There wasn't many slow parts at all. The character development was done very well, and I'm so glad because Tamsin's family was very large. In my opinion, if you enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, you will enjoy this book as well.
Always a Witch comes out August 2011, I'm loving this cover!
* This was a pretty clean book. Some kissing and language. The main character Tamsin drinks and smokes.