Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz is the first book in a fantasy series that features witchcraft and a healthy dose of romance. Although not a perfect book, Witches of East End is a solid foundation for the series.
As the story begins, The Beauchamp women are hiding a magical secret from the residents of the sleepy Long Island town known as New Haven. Joanna Beauchamp, along with her daughters Freya and Ingrid, stopped practicing magic after the Salem Witch Trials due to a “ban.” Despite the long centuries of passing for mortals, the Beauchamp women soon find individual and highly personal reasons to dabble in their long abandoned arts.
Much of Witches of East End focuses on the development of the three Beauchamp women. Some of my favorite scenes simply involved Ingrid gushing over her love of history and literature while struggling to keep her beloved library from closing. Freya is more of a wild-child whereas her mother Joanna is the wise and cautious matriarch. The male characters, including the wealthy, heart-throb brothers Killian and Bran Gardener, are never point of view characters and generally serve as love interests for the first three-fourths of the book. However, a major twist involving unexpected elements of Norse mythology is a unique game-changer as the story approaches the climax.
Melissa de la Cruz spends so much time inside the heads of the three Beauchamp women that she sometimes seems to forget to create action in the outside world and to push the plot ahead. The climax is exciting but comes and goes far too quickly. In this way, it almost seems like an afterthought when compared to the time that is spent developing characters and romances. Witchcraft plays an important role in the book, as it should, but it would be nice to see more of the Beauchamp women’s skills on display.
As a fantasy novel, admittedly heavy in the romance department, Witches of East End entertains and lays a great foundation for the rest of the series. I personally would enjoy steadier speed and plot progression to the climatic ending. Regardless, I enjoyed the book and plan to read the next in the series.