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Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always a WitchComing into her own Talent, for stopping and sometimes absorbing others’ Talents, hasn’t been what Tamsin Greene thought it would be like. Most of her family still treats her as an outsider because they think Tam is too powerful for her own good. Perhaps she is, but Tam has only ever wanted to use her power to help her family. Thus, when she discovers a plot to restore the ancient Talented Knight family at the expense of the Greene family’s existence, she does the only thing she can think of—she tries to stop it. To do this, she follows the evil Alistair Knight back in time to Victorian era New York, where she disguises herself as a lady’s maid in the treacherous Knight household. As the atrocities of the beginnings of the Knight-Greene feud come to light, it becomes more pertinent than ever for the Knights to be stopped. But what price will Tam have to pay to save her family—and more importantly, is she willing?

In some ways, it is extremely difficult to write a two book series because the second book must appear original and interesting in different ways than the first book was while also extending the storyline. Thankfully, MacCullough does this masterfully. Always a Witch contains time travel, interesting Talents, and the dangerous magical war between the Greene and Knight families, just as Once a Witch does, yet everything is presented in a slightly different manner. Instead of several connected episodes of time travel, the majority of this novel takes place in one instant the past. The relative stability of this setting makes the plot seem somewhat dull at times but also allows for a lot of character development, both on Tamsin’s part and for many of the new minor characters. The growth that Tamsin experiences helps the ending of the story make more sense. From the beginning of this novel, it is made painfully clear that Tamsin will have to make a momentous choice by the end of the story, to the point that I was expecting something utterly drastic to take place. However, the story goes off in a slightly different direction which, though not immediately thrilling, makes the story a lot more satisfying overall.

MacCullough has done a fantastic job with both Once a Witch and Always a Witch, and I cannot wait to see what she produces next. These novels are sure to be enjoyed by fans of Revealers by Amanda Marrone and Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from NetGalley

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