Something wicked this way comes | Cyn’s Book Review of Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family, #1)

By: Cynthia A.

By: Melissa de la Crux

Published: June 21, 2011

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Series: The Beauchamp Family

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, (Young) Adult

The three Beauchamp women–Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid–live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret–they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. Finally, there’s Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.  For centuries, all three woman have been forced to suppress their abilities.  However, as their lives get complicated and disastrous events happen in their little town, the three women dust off their wands and pull out their broomsticks to battle the dark forces working against them.

Melissa de la Crux is a writer who can easily hook in any reader.  She establishes a fine plot, captivating characters and puts in amazing detail into the story.  Unfortunately, this story seemed to lack all three of those writing talents.  The Witches of East End is Cruz’s attempt to step away from the young adult genre and into the adult genre, but if anything, even with older characters, the story comes off as more juvenile than her famous Blue Bloods series.

The novel revolves around a family of witches who are both immortal and mortal.  Although they can be killed, and have died before, girls are reborn to the same mother and father, both of whom are witches.  Now, with that, each of these girls grow up until they stop at a particular age that highlights who they are deep inside.  Freya looks like a girl in her prim, exhibiting the wild love side.  At one point her mother, who exhibits Wisdom, calls her the Goddess of Love, and boy, does Cruz highlight that, making her as slutty as Aphrodite herself.  Sex affairs are of course common in the real world but Cruz made it a central part of the plot, becoming very explicit at times, when that served no purpose wha  tsoever.  It took away from the central story as a whole.  While it would have been okay for Cruz to show it once then mull over the guilt the character is feeling at having an affair with her fiancés’ brother, the amount of detail in that was unnecessary.  It took away from what charm the novel would have had, and in turn made the novel a little trashy.

The prologue was amazing; it was captivating, mysterious and thought provoking.  But after that, the book seems to fall apart.  While Cruz put so much stake in the explicit parts of the novel, she missed crucial scene specifics throughout the rest of the novel.  At one point the reader sees the couple are not alone and that there is a crowd around and the next moment another love scene.  The reader will hope that they are alone considering they get it on right there on the bar, but there are no specifics to identity anything other than body parts.  In Cruz’s pitiful attempt to branch out into the Adult genre, she has forgotten that impromptu sex scenes don’t make a story captivating, but rather good characters and story do.

Now, while the story branches from that to build the actual plot line of a mysterious magic poisoning their town, the reader finally wants to read because Cruz is weaving something mysterious, building up to something powerful.  However, the ending just falls flat.  It is incredibly anti-climactic, dull and boring and what follows comes off as some desperate attempt to make fans (if any) and readers pick up the next one.  None of Cruz’s charm and skill at writing seem to exist here and for fans of her work, this is a disappointing read.  ★★☆☆☆ (D)

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