By Author / Illustrator
Simon & Schuster Ltd
Paperback / softback
'A SPELLBINDING STORY, STEEPED IN MAGIC. I ADORED IT' - Abi Elphinstone, author of Sky Song
Three sisters trapped by an ancient curse.
Three magical objects with the power to change their fate.
Will they be enough to break the curse?
Or will they lead the sisters even deeper into danger? ...
The first in an enchanting new series from Michelle Harrison, author of the bestselling THIRTEEN TREASURES trilogy
A Pinch of Magic is a lovely book, and it has been a delight to read and review it. Betty Widdershins lives with her Granny, and her sisters Fliss and Charlie, in the Poachers Pocket Inn in the village of Crowstone. Their mother is dead and their father is imprisoned in Crowstone Tower. Betty longs for adventure and yearns to explore the world beyond Crowstone. But, on her 13th birthday, she learns that a curse has been placed upon the Widdershins family which means that any girl who leaves Crowstone will die before the next sunset.
Granny also tells the girls that she owns three magical objects - a travelling bag which can transport people anywhere they need to go, a mirror which enables the owner to speak to people who are in other places, and a set of wooden nesting dolls which can be used to make people invisible. Fliss, the eldest, is to inherit the mirror, Betty the dolls and Charlie, the youngest, becomes the owner of the magic bag. Betty is desperate to break the curse, and, with the help of her sisters and their trio of magical items, sets off to seek out a way to safeguard the future of the Widdershins family.
So begins a wonderful adventure, filled with magic, mystery, escaped prisoners and danger. This is a beautifully written story; the author describes in detail the misty marshes around Crowstone and the mysterious islands of Torment, Lament and Repent, drawing the reader effortlessly into Betty's world. The characters are well drawn and interesting. Each girl has her own traits; Fliss, who at first seems to be flirty and self-absorbed turns out to be brave and feisty. Charlie is the animal lover with her pet rat, Hoppity, and her cat Oi. She is a very funny little girl who becomes a key part of solving the puzzle of the curse. Betty is a fabulous character, wilful and adventurous but with a huge love for her sisters and grandmother.
There is a strong sense of family which shines out throughout the book. I especially loved the way the author weaves the story of Sorsha Spellthorn, the girl who was blamed for placing the curse on the Widdershins, into the story. The author also cleverly ties up all of the loose ends into a highly satisfactory conclusion.
All things considered, this is a book to be savoured and I highly recommend it. The ending of the book hints that there are more stories about the Widdershins sisters to come, and I really hope that this is the case! I look forward to reading the further adventures of Fliss, Betty and Charlie.
368 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 9+