The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna: Enchanting and Uplifting

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

From the very moment that I began reading this novel by Sangu Mandanna, I was intrigued by the concept and tone of the story. Mika instantly charmed me with her upbeat and questioning attitude and also her loneliness. Prickly Primrose was also intriguing. But as soon as I met the occupants of Nowhere House, Ian, Ken, Lucie, and Jamie, along with their three charges, I was completely charmed and enchanted. Each character is unique and special, adding a loving touch to this enchanting and uplifting story of finding family. 

Part of what makes it so endearing is how well the characters are written. We get Mika’s point of view but also Jamie’s which helps fill in bits of the narrative. In addition, the characters are full of complexity, wit, and humor. The antics of the three charges, Altamira, Rosetta, and Terracotta, are believable and show that the author understands children and how they behave. Even Primrose has hidden depths and is full of surprises in this story of found love.

The romantic aspect between Jamie and Mika is also well written. Neither character instantly falls in love. Jamie is quite reluctant to even like Mika but the author does a wonderful job of slowly evolving the relationship and romantic moments between the two. Both have complex and rich backstories, each wounded in life and the way they are brought together is beautifully accomplished. 

If you love enchanting and uplifting stories, this might be one to read. The story is full of surprises, love, and friendship. The ending is lovely and hopeful, as Mika finds a family she didn’t even know she needed.

Rating: 5 out of 5 broomsticks 

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