Monday, February 15, 2016

Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag

What They Say.....Be careful what you wish for. If you're a witch, you might just get it.
Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It's a secret she can share only with her friends—all professors, all witches—when they gather for the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft. Amandine treasures these meetings but lately senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa's power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up. Unfortunately, Noa regards her gift as a curse. So when a seductive artist claims he can cure her, Noa jumps at the chance, no matter the cost.

Noa's not the only witch in over her head. Mathematics professor Kat has a serious case of unrequited love but refuses to cast spells to win anyone's heart. Her sister, Cosima, is not above using magic to get what she wants, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on Kat's crush, she conjures up a dangerous love triangle.

As romance and longing swirl through every picturesque side street, the witches of Cambridge find their lives unexpectedly upended and changed in ways sometimes extraordinary, sometimes heartbreaking, but always enchanting.

What I Say.....I've read Menna Van Praag's Dress Shop of Dreams, and really enjoyed it, so I was happy to receive a copy of The Witches of Cambridge.  

It was a sweet read about four witches, connected as family and friends.  Amandine is worried that her husband is having an affair, Noa thinks her ability to read people's secrets means she will always be a freak, Kat is in love with her best friend, and Cosima is heartbroken after finding out her husband has had an affair and now is expecting a child with another woman.

I am a big fan of magical realism, and this was a good read, but early Alice Hoffman is what all magical realism is judged on for me, or even current Sarah Addison Allen.  Van Praag is close, and it's almost frustrating to see how close she comes, but it's just off enough to remind you that you are reading a book. 


Cosima's death seems to be almost an afterthought - although reference was made to her blood disorder, I didn't think her death was as inevitable as it seemed.  I mean really, what was the point?

I really enjoy Van Praag, and I'll continue to read her books.  They are an easy read, and definitely take you away from reality.

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