Rating:

Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

In Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene learned that she had always had a Talent. For nearly 18 years, her grandmother had led her to believe that she was Talentless. In the follow-up Always a Witch, Tamsin explores the boundaries of her newly discovered powers and navigates through a romantic relationship with fellow witch Gabriel, a childhood friend she blew off because she believed herself to be ordinary.

The rivalry between the Greenes and the Knights dates back to the 19th century. Since the last time that Tamsin and Gabriel traveled to the past, the Greene family can no longer see their future reflected in the Book of Shadows. Alistair Knight has not given up the quest to go back in time and warn his ancestors on how to stop the Greenes from prospering in their powers so that in modern time Alistair himself will not be Talentless.

Tamsin must travel back in time to the 19th century and find her own ancestors to help them defeat the Knights once and for all so her family will still exist in her time. When she arrives, she masquerades as a lady’s maid in the home of the Knights, coming face to face with Liam Knight, the man who had traveled to her time and had given her clues as to what the end result of their encounter would be. Fearful of what he said regarding Gabriel, Tamsin doesn’t include him on her adventure and blocks him from being able to discover where she is. When Alistair arrives at the Knight residence, everything Tamsin is working to accomplish could be ruined. More than ever, Tamsin needs Gabriel by her side. Will he find her in time to stop Liam and his disturbing experiments?

Always a Witch is a terrific and satisfying sequel to Carolyn MacCullough’s Once a Witch. It is well paced and witty, if maybe a little confusing with all of the time traveling. I love Tamsin’s no-nonsense attitude, and found it especially funny that she had to hold her tongue while in the employ of the Knight family. We also see a more sensitive side of Tamsin when she begins to relate to Jessica, the daughter of the mistress of the house.

As I started to get further into the book, I could see the wheels turning in Carolyn MacCullough’s mind. She definitely worked from an outline and planned out how everything was going to happen. Normally time travel novels frustrate me, but I tried not to think about it too much while reading this and as I result I think I enjoyed the book a lot more. A few things that I was left questioning at the end of Once a Witch are explained in this sequel. I was a bit unsatisfied by how Always a Witch ended, and hope that there’s a third book in the works.

Rating: 3.5/5

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Clarion Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.