top of page

Book Review: An unfortunate witchy romance

Where do I begin with this book? The book description claims this novel follows Sadie, a witch in small-town America, who thinks her four heartbreaks curse is well worth the price for her magic. After learning her beloved grandmother has cancer with only weeks to live, her estranged brother returns to town, as well as Sadie’s first love, Jake. Everything begins to unravel, and Sadie must decide if love is more important than magic.


This novel was marketed as “Gilmore Girls” meets “Practical Magic,” but it’s anything but. Randall couldn’t decide what genre or vibes she wanted to lean into; there’s a mystery to be solved, but it’s also a heartfelt coming-of-age story, a romance, and an attempt to align with magical realism. Based on the book description alone, it should have leaned into romance or coming-of-age.


The most glaring issue, though, was the weirdly conservative Christian commentary and atmosphere. For a novel about witches in a small town, the conservative Christian elements felt very out of place and also a self-insert of the author. I am fine with a Christian witchy novel. Still, considering the lack of genre cohesion, it felt random and almost like an attempt to market the book to Christians, to no avail.


Even if it had leaned into the romance or coming-of-age genre, the novel’s romance and coming-of-age storylines were all over the place. The romance between Sadie and Jake was stale and lacked any natural chemistry between the characters. Also, Jake’s infidelity and behavior after Sadie finds out about his fiancée and their baby read as if the author was trying to assure the reader that cheating isn’t all that bad and that women should forgive and forget. Spoiler alert: no one should forgive and forget cheaters!


The coming-of-age element garnered little empathy or connection from me, as most of the issues in the novel revolve around Sadie’s inability to listen to others or think critically about her behavior until it blows up in her face. The writing swung back and forth between overly descriptive setting and food details to unspecific core elements of the story.


Honestly, whoever created the marketing strategy for this book should be ashamed of themselves. The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic is a lackluster and stale tale of why authors need decent editors and marketers and why, sometimes, books proposals should be rejected.


This ARC was provided by Alcove Press and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page