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February 11, 2016

Suped Up: The Witches of Cambridge by Menna Van Praag

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
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.



Oh gosh, doesn't this sound interesting and delicious?!

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45 comments:

  1. This does sound really good! I'm glad you liked it so much that you want to read the rest of the author's work. That's always a good sign. I do like some women's fiction here and there - where you see into the lives of various women, especially when they are friends.

    -Lauren
    www.letsgetbeyontolerance.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, I want to try the one with the dress shop. I wonder if it'll be like a fairy godmother turning random stuff into beautiful dresses.

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  2. I am sure I have read something by her, and I should read this one too

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  3. She's new to me, but the story sounds great and I love how Cosima uses kitchen magic.

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    1. Oh lord, I'd give anything just to taste one of her canolis!

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  4. I love it when food plays a big role in food. Always makes me hungry too. Haha! :D I like magical realism books so I'm gonna look into this one!

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  5. Holy Moly I LOVE Sarah Addison Allen, sign me up! Thanks!

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    1. *writes your name down on the list*

      Okay, you're in!

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  6. It's been awhile since I read something like this, Braine. I'm going to see if my library carries Van Praag's books as this one sounds delightful!

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    1. Me too! She left a pleasant feeling now I want more :)

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  7. This is on my maybe list---sometimes it really works for me but other times I want more magic in the story. This will go on my library list though as it does sound like the overall story is compelling.

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  8. Okay, you've convinced me that I need this one :D Thanks!

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  9. Okay, you have sold me on this one. You know I love magical realism. Great review!

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    1. Woot! I'm not on the hunt for her other books on my library

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  10. Oooh I am INTRIGUED! Magic Realism is hit or miss with me, but I can see myself giving Witches of Cambridge a shot! Glad you loved this one :)

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    1. The food, the food should win you over! Hahaha

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  11. Oh, I want bruschetta and pizza now, and also some courgette flowers :)
    I have never read van Praag, Braine, and now, I'm really wondering why that is. Witches of Cambridge sounds fantastic, and YAY for delicious food quotes :)
    Have a terrific Thursday and happy reading.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. courgette flowers, how do you use that in food?

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  12. Oh gosh. I need this one. I adore magical realism and any book with rich food descriptions is always a win for me.

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    1. I hope you love this one, Heidi, I sure did!

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  13. Oh I love that you now want to binge read all her other books, that is definitely saying something! I must try her too I think.
    Wonderful review!!

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    1. Her other titles are interesting too. Like there's a dress shop book, I want to read that next!

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  14. I like that this is more magical realism, like real witches rather than the UF or PNR that we read. I think that I could really connect with and enjoy this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

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  15. wow 5 storyline? It's great to see that you had such a wonderful time with this new story! the author seems to have handled all that quite well

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    1. Yeah, she handled that really well. I am not the biggest fan of multiple storylines, the narrator didn't shift, just the POV.

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  16. sounds like a great story and the fact that you like it so much is awesome.

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  17. Wow...why have I not heard of this..so many elements I love. Magical Realism is a fav for me, and I love this type of withy read. Thank for sharing this!

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    1. Right?! She flew below my radar too, now I'm rectifying that.

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  18. I've read a few great magic realism books, but only a few. It is a great genre and can be very well done. I am glad to hear it was easy to relate to each character because of what tey go through. I like the sound of the multiple storylines and how they are all intertwined. And food?! I always love food in books and in real life too, ofcourse. Great review!

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    1. You will love the food here, it's mouthwatering!

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  19. I love when the author actually includes the recipes for food they write about. This genre takes some pushing for me to read, but I usually enjoy it when I do.

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    1. I hope I and the food snippet have pushed you enough :D

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  20. Did someone say food? Food + magic!!! Yep, sounds good to me! Wonderful review!

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    1. Yes! Like the treats are enchanted, I wanted some so much! Get a canoli and give it to Anson Mount so he mounts me! Bwahahaa!

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  21. This sounds like fun, B. I'm not familiar with the author as well, so thanks for putting this on my radar. Witches and wizards are a tough sell for me, but I think I can enjoy books with mild encantations and spells. :D

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    1. It's a cool book IMO, it's hard to explain, it's all in context and it's not like Practical Magic at all. It's very subtle

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  22. Wow. Awesome to hear you loved it. :) By looking at the cover I wouldn't have thought witches. But sounds like that's a light part of the story too. Thank you. And hope you get more books by the author and enjoy them!

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  23. I love when they describe food in books. So yummy. The cover is throwing me off though

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  24. Well dang! I was offered this one a while back but passed because life was crazy and I was behind. Sounds like a great read!

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