16 June 2014

The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri, Book review

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (May 13, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250015532


It’s the trouble you aren’t expecting that gets you. And it’s all around you, Bronwyn, it’s all around you like the air.…
Bronwyn "BitsyWyn" Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.
In Suzanne Palmieri's thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.

(Photo source HERE)

My thoughts:

A convoluted tale of Southern life with its warm hospitality and old fashioned etiquette, often confusing to outsiders but never the less beguiling. There is no doubt Suzanne Palmieri (aka Suzanne Hayes) has her own personal charm and knows how to write as undoubtedly she proved with 'I'll Be Seeing You'. 

In The Witch Of Belladonna Bay, the cast of characters appears often seductive if at times maddening yet you feel drawn into their lives. The whole dramatic atmosphere is 
almost surreal, from the mist hovering over the mysterious island in the bay to the eccentric people, young and old, who make up the world of the Big house.

I admit I am from the North (not a Yankee though) and wonder at the magic behind these particular inhabitants of Magnolia Creek, Alabama? What makes them sound so disparate? Is it the sultry heat, the spicy cuisine (a curious blend of French cuisine with African spices as far as I can tell) or is it the ambivalent atmosphere of those things you cannot see or understand but are just there...and readily accepted by those nearest? 

Family ties, mystery, romance, folk tales, psychic power, magic and the need for forgiveness are all projected in this emotional novel. The combination might sound perhaps unusual but in the end, it was original. If you are looking for something out of the realm of ordinary, this is the one for you (and if your are from the South, I imagine you will feel right at home with Suzanne's tale!).

Overall,  I felt a certain amount of skepticism about the plot line's direction which seemed drawn out. Still, I savoured the colourful descriptions of Southern life and only felt marginal dismay at the dialogue (definitively different from the North!) and the occasional strong words.

Listen to a little Dixie, grab yourself a Mint Julep, sit in the shade and travel South for a little magic!

4 Stars!


Meet the Author:

Suzanne Palmieri (AKA Suzanne Hayes), is the author of The Witch of Little Italy (Saint Martin's Press/Griffin) and the co-author of I'll Be Seeing You and This Heart of Mine (Mira Books), as Suzanne Hayes. She lives by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches. 
"I'm a Lost Witch. Are you a Lost Witch too?"

Twitter: @TheLostWitch

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from SPARKPOINTSTUDIO,
Home of BookSparksPR as part of the book's promotion. 
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 


  1. The south in your country I found warm and friendly the north not so much but their life moved at a faster pace and they moved faster maybe to keep warm.
    I've always enjoyed books about the south, lots of characters.

    1. Ah, I like the idea of Northerners moving a wee bit faster due to the cold weather! Guess it applies to the Flanders and the Midlands as well. I am learning a lot about the South though thanks to my SIL (Texan).


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