TITLE: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
AUTHOR: Sangu Mandanna
AGE RANGE: Adult
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for…
“It’s not always enough to go looking for the place we belong. Sometimes we need to make that place.”
I am a PUDDLE. This was one of the most wholesome, precious things I have read in my entire life. If you enjoy cozy fantasy tales with a bit of romance, a cast of very lovable characters, cottagecore vibes, and a heaping dose of found family, you absolutely need this on your radar because it includes all of that and more, and depicts it all brilliantly. I know I’m not the first to say this, but this book is absolutely a warm hug in the form of a book and I loved it.
“We’ve talked about this,” said Jamie mildly. “Murder can’t be your first choice every time you don’t like something.”
First of all, the dialogue in this book had me in giggles constantly. Between the kids’ shenanigans, Ian’s wildness, and Jamie’s dry snark, I smiled so much reading this! But there’s also a ton of sweetness and even some really delightful swoon-worthy moments, and I’m certainly able to admit I had tears in my eyes a few times near the end over how simply precious it all was.
It’s a leap of faith to love people and let yourself be loved.
Despite its warmth and cheer, this isn’t only a happy tale; there’s also a ton of time spent discussing trauma and how difficult it can make everyday life, much less learning to trust and care for people when you’ve developed a fear of abandonment or being used. I absolutely adored watching Mika heal from her past and learn to truly live despite her fears.
Cover to cover, I adored this sweet little fantasy book and I’m so incredibly happy that I picked it up (thank you to Misty for inviting me to buddy read it with you!). It’s one of the sweetest and best things I’ve read this year and I can’t wait for the next cozy fantasy release of Mandanna’s!
Buddy read with Misty! ♥
WARNINGS (click to expand):
trauma, abandonment, child neglect (primarily emotional), loneliness, depression, death of a parent, grief, racism (challenged), homophobia (challenged), xenophobia (challenged), alcohol usage
Mika is Indian, Rosetta is Black, Terracotta is Vietnamese, Altamira is Palestinian, Ian is gay, and Ken is Japanese and gay
— destiny ♥