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Friday, June 13, 2014

Book 202: THE WITCH OF BELLADONNA BAY Review



The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri
ISBN: 9781250015532 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781250015525 (ebook)
ASIN: B00GEU760C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin


It's the trouble you aren't expecting that gets you. And it's all around you, Bronwyn, it's all around you like the air...
Bronwyn "BitsyWyn" Whalen hasn't set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits' end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future. In Suzanne Palmieri's thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.

Bronwyn Whalen has, what she feels is, the perfect life. She has a successful career in photography and a man that she loves. What she doesn't have is a relationship with her family. All of that is about to change with one simple phone call. It's been fourteen years since Bronwyn left Magnolia Creek, Alabama vowing never to return. She left behind her father, her brother, her great-aunt, and her best friends. One simple phone call shatters her life. Her childhood best friend has been murdered, her brother has been arrested for the murder, and her brother's daughter is left to fend for herself. The only thing Bronwyn can do is face the past and return to Alabama to sort out the truth.

The Witch of Belladonna Bay is a modern gothic novel with a Southern twist. Ms. Palmieri deftly blends murder, mayhem, mystery, magic, mysticism, and ghosts into a captivating tale of family and loss. Bronwyn feels that her mother neglected her and her brother by using drugs to the point of addiction. Bronwyn, in turn, neglects her family for years as she struggles to find herself. Byrd, Bronwyn's niece, is precocious, lovable, and wild. Byrd attends school when she wants, takes baths when she feels like it, and is loved and feared by almost everyone in town. It doesn't help that Bronwyn's mother, Naomi, and her entire family are descendants of witches from New England, or that Bronwyn and Byrd are recipients of that magic. Add in a family curse and legends into the mix and you wind up with a story that didn't let me go until the final page.

One of the things that kept my attention from beginning to end was the alternating perspectives of Bronwyn, Byrd, and the ghostly Naomi. Ms. Palmieri has crafted believable characters even when dealing with somewhat unbelievable circumstances. The Witch of Belladonna Bay is all about what a person is willing to do to protect their loved ones. Byrd does what she can in order to protect her father, aunt, and grandfather even if it means turning her back on the greatest love of her life. Bronwyn is forced to act to protect her loved ones even if it means losing the one person she has turned to for love and support over the past seven years of her life. I found The Witch of Belladonna Bay to be a fast-paced read and one that I completed in one sitting over the course of one evening. If you enjoy contemporary gothic fiction or are just interested in reading something a little different, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of The Witch of Belladonna Bay to read. You'll probably want to set aside a few hours so you can read it cover to cover, perhaps while enjoying the sun at the beach or poolside.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from BookSparks as part of the Summer Reading Challenge. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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