GPL Blog

Book Review | The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

From the publisher: A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.

Settle down on your comfy sofa with a nice cup of tea and an animal companion and sink into the restful comfort to be found in The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. In the author’s acknowledgments, Mandanna notes, “When I started writing this book, we were eight months into the pandemic and all I wanted to work on was a warm, cozy, romantic story about magic and family. A story that was, above all things, about love and human connection.” It’s safe to say that she succeeded in her goal.

The main character is Mika Moon, an orphan who was born in India but raised in England. Through a series of unlikely events, she finds herself hired as a tutor for three unrelated young witches of color by their nonmagical guardians. The household includes two gay men in their 80s who have been a couple for many long years, a middle-aged housekeeper, and a suspicious 30ish librarian who ran away from his own unhappy family as a teenager. Mika arrives with her energetic dog and her magical pond of fish. After Mika unpacks way more belongings than could possibly have fit in her car, one of the girls says approvingly, “That was some excellent Mary Poppins shit right there.” (p. 47 of the ARC)

For Good Reasons, witches all over the world avoid each other’s company, meeting only occasionally and in secrecy. This is a safe practice, but one that leads to a lot of loneliness. Mika is both lonely and afraid to get attached to this unusual household, and Secrets Are Being Kept that will cause stress and anguish before we arrive at our happily ever after.

I loved the oh-so-English setting and the way the magic was visible as gold dust. There’s nothing especially original about this book, and the plot moves along a mostly predictable course, but it’s a lovely found family story. You’ll wish you too could move in to Nowhere House.

I read an advance reader copy of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches from Netgalley, and the Galesburg Public Library will own it once it is released on August 23.

Copyright © 2024 Galesburg Public Library. All rights reserved. Web Hosting and Design by InMotion Hosting