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Book Review: Be charmed by “A Letter to Three Witches”

Practical Magic meets the 21st century–without the accidental murder plot–in “A Letter to Three Witches” by Elizabeth Bass.

Gwen Engel’s ancestor accidentally caused the catastrophic Dust Bowl with a poorly cast spell a century ago. As punishment, the council of witches proclaimed his descendants forbidden from practicing magic. Gwen and her eccentric family have made do with their mundane existence in the sleepy college town of Zenobia, New York–until someone stirs the pot of trouble. With her cousins Milo and Trudy, they receive a letter from Gwen’s adoptive sister Tannith stating she’s bewitched one of their partners and will be running off with them by the end of the week.

While worrying about her absent boyfriend and a suspicious graduate student, Gwen and the cousins are thrown into the cauldron to determine Tannith’s proclamation and the magical havoc the untrained witches have caused. Although listed as a witchy romance, I’d say the romance takes a backseat to the family drama, witchcraft, and hilarious mishaps the trio seem to leave in their wake.

I honestly couldn’t put this down once I started. The narration is enthralling and transports you to the set of Practical Magic easily. Although akin to Practical Magic, Gwen, Milo, and Trudy are decidedly not similar to the film’s enigmatic characters. Overflowing with wit, kindness, and relatable perspectives, you won’t feel like you’re on the outside looking in–but rather right there with them as they navigate their unpracticed craft.

There’s plenty of other minor characters that round out “A Letter to Three Witches.” Perpetually miserable Aunt Esme, suspicious Jeremy, and the disgruntled cat Griz sprinkle in quirkiness throughout the novel–Griz even has some delightfully witty POV chapters that would make Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch proud.

Minor plot holes are scattered throughout, but, nevertheless, “A Letter to Three Witches” is a light, fun read for anyone in need of a sprinkle of magic and romance.

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