Release Date: February 9, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Women's Lit | Magic Realism
For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Witches of Cambridge reveals an astonishing world where the heart's deepest secrets give way to the magic of life-changing love.
"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.
Why haven't I read Menna Van Praag before?! After reading THE WITCHES OF CAMBRIDGE, I now want to get all her books and binge read if her other books are as good or better as this.
THE WITCHES OF CAMBRIDGE is a great amalgam of Women's Literature and Magic Realism. The cast of characters are actual witches, but the supernatural element is mellow and contained in simple spells and using their unique skills from empathy to precognition. The women are friends and are in different stages in their lives, going through universal issues involving love, death, marriage, family, ambition, etc., so it's very easy to relate to each of them in some way.
MVPraag drew out each of these women's stories very well. They each told the story of their lives completely and perfectly even if they have to share the book with each other. It also helped that their lives are intertwined so all 5 storylines moved in the same direction. I also love the setting, Cambridge, as the characters are involved in the University in some shape or form. I should also mention that the women and George are super smart, so I felt like I'm reading an intelligent book especially when Kat does her math to explain stuff. I can't understand what she's saying, and its great that it wasn't a constant demonstration of her prowess, but it's a cool touch.
The best part has to be the food! Cosima makes these enchanted treats that sounds utterly scrumptious! MVPraag included some recipes in the end and I sure want to try them when and if I find the ingredients, but the imagery had my mouth watering. #nomnom
It goes without saying that I love THE WITCHES OF CAMBRIDGE. It gave me the feels and though this is women's lot, it's not devoid of excitement, tragedies, and black magic a la Dorian Gray. If you're a magic realism fan and/or is a fan of food in your fiction, make sure you read MVPraag in the nearest future. Satisfaction guaranteed.