“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Friday, November 4, 2011

Always a Witch ▪ YA fiction

Always a Witch
Available now  Clarion Books  Ages 12 and up
Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. 
Story:  When Tasmin discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, she is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.
Story behind the story:  From author Carolyn MacCullough: "Writing Always a Witch, the sequel to Once a Witch, was a bittersweet experience for me.  I was so happy to be back with these characters that I had come to love, yet I knew I was going to be saying goodbye to them soon.  Also, I was a brand new mom for the first time and was stumbling around in a stage of euphoric exhaustion.  All of a sudden, I looked at my main character, Tamsin, differently.  I was putting her in some dangerous situations and I couldn’t help but ask myself, “oh, no!  What will her mother think of this?”  The importance of family, which was always a central theme of the books, became even more resonant for me."

We featured Once A Witch on The Picnic Basket pre-publication (yes, you get some great sneak peeks here) in August 2009 -- 86 comments seem strong evidence of its popularity!  Read what your colleagues had to say about it here.  Plus, a few fairly popular authors and review journals liked it too:

"A fantastic urban fantasy with an enchanting romance at its heart." --Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of City of Bones

"Carolyn MacCullough casts a mesmerizing spell with Once a Witch. Family secrets and sibling rivalry, time-travel and magical 'Talents' all brew together to create a superlative--and supernatural--coming-of-age story. Add an epic battle of good versus evil and an enchanting first kiss and this bewitching novel commands a sequel." --Megan McCafferty, New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series 

"A light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will have readers asking for its sequel." --Kirkus Reviews

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


Linda said...

I absolutely love this book! I have to admit that I stayed up past my bedtime and when I should have been grading papers to read this. It is a great piece of historical fiction that has the reader enraptured form beginning to end. Will she survive? What about the family she is working for? Will she see her family again. I give it a five for sure.

EShay said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down. Thank goodness it was a fast read.

It was interesting from a slightly historical perspective. It also had suspense and a bit of romance. I had not read the first book, but that was not a problem.

There are many "witch" books out there, but this one was lighter - not so dark. But, it still had the good vs. evil theme.

I give it a 5.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book as much as I did the first in the series. I know that my students will enjoy it as well. I enjoyed the characters interactions throughout the time travel. With all the fantasy stories out now, this one is one of the best.

This book gets a high 5 from me.

Kimberli Carrier said...

I loved this sequel to Once A Witch. Once again Carolyn MacCullough draws the reader into Tamsin's world. Her descriptions are wonderful and really help the reader visual where the story is taking place. I love the themes and conflicts throughout the book. The characters feel real and the story never feels forced or contrived. I'd love to see another book in this series. I love how the theme of being ordinary versus extraordinary is once again explored in this book. It makes it a very worthwhile read for middle/high schoolers. I highly recommend it.

I score it 5 out of 5.

Julia Pitau said...

The sequel to Once a Witch, Always a Witch does not disappoint. It pulled me in from the very beginning and I couldn't put it down. A big "thank you" to Carolyn MacCullough for the prologue which helped refresh my memory. Plus it makes it nice for the reader who did not read the first installment. The book is practically a stand-alone. This sequel was well worth the wait!

Picnic Rating: 4
Denair charter Academy

M. Battista said...

I enjoyed the first book, Once a Witch, but was a little worried about the second. Sequels are generally let downs. Not so in this case. I think it's even better. What a delightful surprise. Go Tamsin!

Picnic Rating: 5

Denair, CA

Heather Hill said...

"Always a Witch" was such a treat to receive in the mail! I loved "Once a Witch" and couldn't wait to see what would happen in this next novel.

The book is a quick read that is hard to put down. As a sequel, I didn't like it as much as the first book, but I did enjoy the story. I wanted more interaction between Tamsin, her family, and Gabriel. But, having finished the book, I understand why Ms. MacCullough unfolded the story as she did.

This will be a set of books that I will revisit and lend out again and again.

"Always a Witch" is a 5 out of 5.

Heather Hill
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

Peaceful Reader said...

Oh,shoot, I missed it. I've been waiting for this one to come out because I enjoyed her first book.