Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Release Date: September 14, 2009
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: YA Paranormal
The Story: (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search--and the stranger--will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all.
My Review: I will admit that I'm not normally into books about witches but when I saw this cover and that it was endorsed by one of my favorite all time authors, Cassandra Clare, I thought I'd give it a try. It was a very smart decision to do so. Once a Witch captivated me from the very first page.
Tamsin is different from everyone in her family. Despite the fact that her grandmother predicted she would be the strongest witch of them all, Tamsin has no powers and has struggled with that her whole life. At seventeen, she's accepted her lack of talent and has moved away to New York City for school, where she can be herself without the pressure of her family. When a handsome professor from the city stops by her family store,Tamsin agrees to find a family heirloom for him. Even though he thinks she's Rowena, Tamsin's gorgeous and immensely talented older sister, Tamsin doesn't tell him any different and temporarily relishes being mistaken for someone with a talent at all.
Gabriel, a childhood friend, who is just moving back to town enters the story fairly early on. Words can't express just how much I love him. He's good looking, sweet, thoughtful, committed, did I mention handsome? Oh, and he clearly has feelings for Tamsin and perhaps he always had. And then there is Gabriel's talent, which is essential to the story, essential to Tamsin's success with the professor and essential to Tamsin discovering who she really is. The dynamic between Tamsin and Gabriel is tense at times and kept me turning the pages as quickly as possible.
I loved learning more about Tamsin's family. They are all strong witches who have a great sense of family and support one another. The talents that each member of the family are well written and believable. Tamsin is a great heroine. She's witty, snarky when need be, fun and tad bit rebellious. All of these characteristics add up to a great leader for a great book. I'm immensely grateful to the author for introducing such a wonderful new world to me.I was thrilled at how much I loved Once a Witch and I cannot wait to start Always a Witch. Be sure to check for that in August!