I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag
Published by Ballantine Books on February 9, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Sagas
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"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.
The Witches of Cambridge is a romance/woman’s fiction novel mixed with some light magic. It focuses on six witches whose lives revolve around Cambridge University. Sisters, Kat and Cosmia who both seek love in the wrong ways, Amandine and her widowed mother Heloise who want to draw truths out of others while hiding their own insecurities, lost Noa and clueless George. As their lives revolve around each other, secrets are brought to light, lives are altered and futures are changed. Each character’s life interacts with the others and chapters are told from alternating characters.
I enjoyed Menna van Praag’s tone. She can craft emotion from the most basic phrases and infuses her words with feeling. The pacing was decent, at times it dragged but always made it back to the timing at the end. The world created was fine, at times things did not seem to line up, but as with the pacing, always made it’s way back to center. The characters were where it dipped a little for me. Heloise’s story dragged, and I did not care for Cosmia. Noa was fantastic as was Amandine, and if the story had focused on them it would have been much stronger. This is the problem that can appear with an ensemble cast, the really strong characters are not given the time to shine, and weaker characters are given too much time.
The Witches of Cambridge was a sweet story that had a few standout moments and characters. I think van Praag spread her writing too thin with an excess of characters. The book was a decent read but could have been excellent with some tightening up. The Witches of Cambridge was still a good read and I really enjoyed the paths of two of the characters. If you are looking for a nice romance light read, I would recommend The Witches of Cambridge. If you are looking for a read with a lot of fantasy elements , then this is not the read for you.
Favorite lines – What you hate quickly becomes ferocious. You hit it for long enough, it’ll hit you back. But what you love soon becomes beautiful. So it is with any trait, any personality quirk. When you embrace something you don’t like, really and truly accept it as a slice of who you are, when you stop seeing it as obnoxious it won’t be obnoxious anymore.”
Biggest cliché – “If only I was normal, I’d be happy.”
Have you read The Witches of Cambridge, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge