Book Banter: The Witch of Belladonna Bay

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Title: The Witch of Belladonna Bay

Author: Suzanne Palmieri

Length: 350 pages

Genre: women’s fiction

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge

Plot Basics: Bronwyn Whalen ran away from her childhood on the Alabama Gulf Coast, her family and the magic surrounding them years ago. When she gets a phone call that her younger brother is in jail for murder and his 11-year-old daughter, Byrd, needs looking after, she can no longer stay away. She returns home to awaken the magic of Belladonna Bay in her, unwind the lies of her family and understand the depth of love.

Banter Points: Props to Palmieri for having two first person narrators in this book and making them sound entirely different. The story alternates between Bronwyn and Byrd’s voices and each is distinct. Especially at the beginning, it was an interesting technique as well to have both characters review certain sets of events.

There were some great lines in the book, real gems in the writing, mostly from Bronwyn as she thought about family and love.

The plot also contained a murder mystery, though it was a device to get at the real ideas about family and coming home. That said, there was one great twist in the murder plot that I didn’t see coming at all.

Bummer Points: I enjoyed the book while reading it, but in that middling way. The plot and characters were good, but it was missing that “thing” that would have flipped it from a 3-star book to a 4- or 5-star book. My struggle was really my fantasy reading background and the use of magic in this book. I didn’t understand how it worked, other than some people were born with it and love tended to make it stronger and weaker all at once.

I’m 50% done with my Summer Reading Challenge books (2/4) and so far I’m striking out on these titles. They are cute, but cute and I aren’t really jiving together this summer.

Word Nerd Recommendation: I want to pass this book on to Stacie because I think it’s more her style than mine.


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