A Tangle of Spells: Bring the magic home with the bestselling Pinch of Magic Adventures

A Tangle of Spells: Bring the magic home with the bestselling Pinch of Magic Adventures

By Author / Illustrator

Michelle Harrison


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



Simon & Schuster Ltd




Paperback / softback




It should have been a fresh start for the Widdershins sisters, Betty, Fliss and Charlie, who have left the misty gloom of Crowstone for a new life in the pretty village of Pendlewick. But all is not as it seems and as one of their own begins to slip away from them, the sisters find themselves in a race against time to break a dark magic that has cast a spell over the village.

Step into the bestselling Pinch of Magic Adventures in this spellbinding story from Michelle Harrison, winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. Discover more from the Widdershins sisters in A Pinch of Magic and A Sprinkle of Sorcery.

Praise for the Pinch of Magic Adventures:

'Totally brilliant . . . with a killer twist that I didn't see coming at all!' Emma Carroll on A Tangle of Spells

'A spellbinding story, steeped in magic. I adored it.' Abi Elphinstone on A Pinch of Magic



The Widdershins sisters go from strength to strength in this wonderful book by Michelle Harrison!

In A Tangle of Spells, Fliss, Betty and Charlie Widdershins move from Crowstone with their Granny and their father Barney. They are hoping for a new start in the pretty village of Pendlewick. However, adventure and magic seem to follow them around, and almost as soon as they arrive at Blackbird Cottage they find that strange things are happening to them. The cottage has a hidden room, containing a portrait of a girl called Ivy Bell, and the villagers are acting oddly. Magic is definitely frowned upon in Pendlewick, the girls are told that 'magic and trouble go hand in hand - and we don't want any trouble here, do we?' But it is not long before the girls find that they are involved in a web of enchantments which involve the whole village. When Betty and Charlie investigate further, they realise that Fliss is under a spell which could take her away from them forever, and so the race begins to save their beloved sister.

Once again the author whisks us into a strange and eerie world. The village is not all that it seems and some of its inhabitants are distinctly creepy, particularly Mrs Lightwing and Miss Pilliwinks, who run the village store, and their cook, Miss Webb.

Once again the underlying theme to the book is family, and the strength of the love that the sisters share. Even though Fliss behaves unpleasantly towards her sisters because of the enchantment she is under, Betty and Charlie refuse to desert her and do everything in their power to bring her back to them.

This Widdershins adventure is a little darker than the previous two. Some of the spells cast by the witches are quite unpleasant - pins falling from the mouths of people trying to tell their secrets. The chapters in which the girls enter Tick Tock Forest are also quite scary, and the final dramatic stand - off between Fliss, Betty, Charlie and the witches - is brilliantly written. However, the author cleverly makes the story creepy but not terrifying, so as not to deter younger readers.

The characters are just lovely. Betty is her usual determined, feisty self, and Charlie is a delight, especially when she mixes up her words! Fliss, enchanted for much of the book, is a little subdued, but comes into her own at the end.

There was one sentence in the Epilogue which really struck a chord with me in these lockdown days; 'True friends never leave us, no matter how far away they are'. Harrison has an amazing knack of blending adventure, fantasy and family love into a wonderful story.

I really cannot recommend this book highly enough - a brilliant return for the Widdershins girls and I can't wait for their next adventure!

352 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


In A Tangle of Spells, the Widdershins sisters are finally leaving the Poacher's Pocket, the home on Crowstone Island they had believed they were cursed to stay in forever, and are setting off for Pendlewick, a village on the mainland. But as well as being neglected, Blackbird Cottage, their new home, is full of unexplained mysteries - trails of salt across each entrance and silver coins at the corner of each room. And although it looks picturesque, Pendlewick also has its peculiarities with stories of witches, the sinister Hungry Tree and Tick Tock Forest.

When Fliss, Granny and their father start to behave strangely, Betty and Charlie know they must uncover the village's dark secrets and use all their cunning to save them.

A Tangle of Spells is the third book about Betty, Fliss and Charlie and the Widdershins girls are as fabulous as ever. The story is completely engrossing and brilliantly plotted with hints and clues throughout, which all come together for a very satisfying conclusion. Although I fail to see why anyone wouldn't have read the two previous books, it is still possible to enjoy this story as a stand alone.

Betty Widdershins is a force to be reckoned with. Intelligent and brave, she is determined to solve the mysteries of her new home and to save her family as things get darker. Although things are changing for the girls, their sibling bond is second to none and once again, they show how each brings their own strengths to protect and support the family. Charlie remains as mischievous and animal loving as ever, bringing touches of humour to the story with her wicked smile and mispronounced words.

There is a darker tone to this story as the girls face a more ominous threat than in the previous books, facing very sinister opponents and eerie locations. The story is full of vividly imagined places, creating a wonderful sense of atmosphere.

The choice of names used in this story is as wonderful as ever. 'Pendlewick' is surely a reference to the Pendle witch trials of 1612 and 'pilliwinks' were an instrument used for torture. The Splintered Broomstick, Peckahen Farm, Scally and Wags are just a few examples of the carefully chosen names which add to the whole.

Thoroughly enjoyable, A Tangle of Spells is a brilliant read with much to recommend it. I hope there are many more adventures for the Widdershins to come.

352 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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