I don’t watch much television. I only have one that, oddly enough, I bought on eBay. I don’t have cable and my antenna reception is full of static, so I often rely on Netflix. The only problem with this? I’m never aware of current series, I’m always about a year behind. So this means I missed out on the delightful Witches of East End. Yes, I’m serious. I love that show – mostly the house (that kitchen!). And I’m particularly fond of the uptight-hair-in-a-bun librarian stereotype that’s poor Ingrid embodies*. She’s my favorite librarian since the incomparable Giles.
Despite my love for the show, I discovered it about one month before I found of that it has now been cancelled. I was perhaps more devastated than I should have been, but I was really looking forward to the evolution of the house, which changes with the moods of matriarch Joanna. Needless to say, when I discovered it was based on a novel, I was thrilled. So I dutifully placed my hold at the library.
I got it. I read it. And I was disappointed.
The Beauchamp women – Joanna, Freya, and Ingrid – are three beautiful women living in North Hampton. Mother Joanna is a powerful witch prohibited from using her powers, as are her two daughters. If they do, they may end up in a Salem situation again. Ingrid, the town librarian, is so uptight she’s earned the name Frigid Ingrid, while Freya easily maintains her wild child status. Each feels stifled without magic in their lives, until each brings it back in their own way. Joanna brings it back to please a child, Ingrid brings it back to help a friend, and Freya uses it to help the lovelorn. Everything is innocent until things begin to go wrong – a fidelity knot ends up in a suicide, a little boy gets a severe case of the flu, and a love potion ends in murder. Is it magic? Are the women causing it? Or is someone out to get them?
This book had potential. Three powerful women hiding in plain sight? It’s a great set-up, but it fell flat. The characters are one dimensional and a little ridiculous. Each one had bits I liked, especially Ingrid. I love when books take the opportunity to make librarians as great as they really are, but honestly, Ingrid wore her hair in a bun so much that she didn’t even know how long her hair was. And Freya embodied the young wild child a bit too well – young, flirty, bartender who cheats on her fiancée at her own engagement party? It’s over the top in a way I didn’t enjoy. 2/5. Not great, but not awful.
In this rare instance, skip the book and go straight to the show.
It feels weird to recommend the show over the book, but I do? Is there any movie or show that you enjoy more than the books it was based on? Do you ever obsess over on screen houses? I do. All. The. Time.
Pair this one with baked good. To impress a little boy, Joanna bakes cookies, cakes, and pies for him. Try this famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. It takes over 24 hours, but it’s worth the wait.
*Okay, I’m lying, but I do love that there is a librarian in a popular television series. Or not so popular, as the case may be.