Title: A Pinch of Magic
Author: Michelle Harrison
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Audience: Middle Grade
All Betty Widdershins wants is an adventure–one that takes her far away from Crowstone, the gloomy island where she’s always lived. But instead of an adventure, Betty and her sisters, Fliss and Charlie, are given of a set of magical objects, each with its own powers: a scruffy carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls, and a gilt-framed mirror. And these magical objects come with their own terrible secret: the sisters’ family is haunted by a generations-long curse that prevents them from ever leaving their island–at the cost of death.
The sisters set out to break the curse and free their family forever. But after stumbling upon a mysterious prisoner who claims to be able to help them, they find themselves in great danger. And in order to break the curse–and stay alive–they must unravel a mystery that goes back centuries, one that involves shipwrecks, smugglers, and sorcery of the most perilous kind.
A Pinch of Magic is just one of those Middle Grades that you can immerse yourself in and spend an afternoon in a magical setting. The atmosphere that Michelle Harrison creates leaves you travelling to Crowstone, and by the end, you never want to leave.
At the heart of A Pinch of Magic is the relationship between Fliss, Betty and Charlie, and I absolutely loved that. The love that they had for each other was amazing, and it shone through the pages. Michelle Harrison managed to capture the changing relationship between sisters, and as much as siblings may annoy you most of the time, you end up loving them anyway. We follow Betty as our main protagonist, but that doesn’t mean that any of the sisters are left out and not fleshed out enough. I also loved the rest of the characters that tied the story together, especially Colton and Granny; they pulled the story together and made the book whole.
The plot of A Pinch of Magic was really intriguing, and I was surprised that it kept me guessing, which is hard to do. It had so many twists and turns, which I think would keep it interesting to readers of all ages.
As I’ve already mentioned, Michelle Harrison does an amazing job creating a spooky and eery atmosphere. Throughout the book, the tension keeps building, and by the end, you have to keep turning the pages to make sure the sisters are going to be okay. I think this is down to Michelle Harrison’s writing style as she has such a vivid way of portraying a scene.
I cannot recommend A Pinch of Magic enough, and if you are looking for a spooky read, I definitely suggest picking it up. Even though A Pinch of Magic is recommended as a Middle Grade, I think that readers of all ages could end up loving it because it is just that good. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel and see what the sisters will get up to next.