Michelle Harrison is perhaps best known for her award-winning 13 Treasures books with their dark elves and fairy magic, but beyond that world she has also gone spooky with (the maybe too-often overlooked) Unrest and her last, and delivered the spellbindingly-fantastic book, The Other Alice which blended fairy-folklore and magic with literary references (was it the inspiration for Anna James’ debut this year of Pages & Co?). I therefore had high anticipations for, but no idea what to expect, with her latest offering.
A Pinch of Magic did not disappoint. It begins with echoes of a Repunzal-like tale of a girl held captive in the tower, before fast-forwarding through to time to meet three sisters, Betty, Fliss, and Charlie who live with their Grannie in the Poacher’s Pocket. It is Halloween and Betty’s 13th birthday but before then she desires to get the ferry to the mainland to experience the fair. And that, is where the magic starts. The three sisters learn of the curse that hangs over lives and the magical gifts that are bestowed upon them.
Betty can’t let it be, she wants freedom, and to get freedom it means breaking the curse. This is a story with twists and turns aplenty but they are all carefully woven together in a story that unfurls before you with every page turn. Every reveal makes sense, and not every one is expected. There is good and there is evil. There are baddies who are good, and wrongs that are righted. There are curses triggered, and curses to be broken, and every character is needed.
A Pinch of Magic ends with a tease that there could be more, but brilliant as it is, I can’t help thinking that it might be best if Michelle leaves the reader wanting more…
A Pinch of Magic is published by Simon & Schuster on 7 February 2019.