All about Books, Book review

Book Review: All Things Hidden by Caroline O’Donoghue

It’s the run up to Halloween so I am pleased to share a witchy book to add to your Halloween reading list, All Things Hidden by Caroline O’Donaghue.

Book Review: All Things Hidden by Caroline O’Donoghue

All Things Hidden by Caroline O’Donoghue Book Cover

Title: All Things Hidden

Author: Caroline O’Donoghue

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: YA fantasy, witch lit

Release date: 21st July 2021

Blurb

I’ll give up the tarot readings. I’ll apologize to Lily. 

But Lily doesn’t come to school on Monday. Or Tuesday. It’s not until Wednesday that the police show up. 

Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.

Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s brother Roe find her? And will their special talents be enough to bring Lily back, before she’s gone for good?

My Thoughts

I heard about this book via a friend who knows I have an interest in tarot. The blurb caught my attention. Overall, I enjoyed it. The beginning is slower paced and sets the scene, but by the middle I was as captivated as I hoped to be and couldn’t put it down. I needed to know where Lilly was and how Maeve would make things right, or if she could.

I loved how tarot and the card meanings were blended into the tale, but it was the author’s use of magic and witchcraft to delve into the world of homophobia, racism and privilege that made me love this story. It revealed parts of Irish culture I never knew about, as well as exploring the undercurrents and tension we see all over the world.

Maeve is a hard character to like, never mind love with her sense of privilege, outspoken and bratty nature. The cards force her to study her behaviour and see the hurtful consequences of her actions. It is a coming of age story and I would love to read more about what happens next. There is so much more to discover and I felt it was setting up to be a sequel with some threads left dangling.

Lilly is an unseen constant in the book, and you only hear Maeve’s voice and view of what happened. I would love to see Lilly’s viewpoint too because she sounds like she has so much to say.

Would you recommend?

If you love of folklore, tarot or witchcraft, this is a YA novel to try. The gentle pacing at the beginning explodes with excitement at the midpoint. It explores gender, bullying and extremism bundled into a magical tale. The eeriness of this novel reminded me of The Changover by Margaret Mahy, which was the book that introduced me to supernatural and fantasy genre as a teenager. Like that one, I will not forget this novel and I now have a new author to follow.

This would be a popular book on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf especially with the younger witches.

Love

Characters, Writing journey

Welcome to The Enchanted Emporium

My last post of January was going to focus on the positives of 2020 and lockdown, but the grim milestone UK has surpassed and the daily stomach punching figures of deaths caused by covid floored me. I can’t do it. Not yet. The grief for a friend lost hurts too much to celebrate the good of the last year, so I’m introducing you to the place I escape to when things get rough, and a glimpse into my world of magic — The Enchanted Emporium.

The Enchanted Emporium

The Enchanted Emporium as painted by Jess Titcombe

 Away from the hustling streets in Whitby’s Old town and under the watchful eye of the Abbey lies a small, bulging old Apothecary. Finding it isn’t easy. You won’t find it on a map but if you need it your instinct and the occasional black cat will lead you to a hidden snicket where an old gas lamp illuminates a courtyard and beckons you forward.

Place:              The Enchanted Emporium

Address:         

Black Cat Alley

Fenwick’s Yard or Witch’s Yard to the locals

Whitby

North Yorkshire

Proprietor: Willow Anderson

Staff:

Rosa Jones

Amber Michaels

Ghosts:

Black Cat or BC Owned by the original witch of Whitby, territorial and reluctant to leave his home. Reported sightings were recorded before the18th century.

Old Percy the old hunched over apothecary resides in the store with his endless tasks and wealth of knowledge Willow would love to hear if only he would speak.

The Marleys death could not break the depth of the love of this married couple. Mrs Marley is an opinionated, gossip and meddles in death as she did in life. Protective of those she loves and has a soft spot for RomComs on the telly.

Mr Marley is elusive and rarely seen except to grab his wife away from overstepping the line in her meddlings.

The unknown on the stairs – a cold patch and feeling of unease whose story is yet to be revealed.

The powerful presence in The Cobble. Believed to be the original witch of Whitby, her story is as older than the shop and has been lost over time, but her magic is the pulse of the store and land. 

The Cobble

A witch’s workroom full of ancient books and tools and was uncovered during the emporium’s renovation and kept locked. The power and the history it holds radiates through the cracks of the door. It gives Willow the collywobbles just walking by. Amber drawn to its mystery and longs to be allowed inside.

The Enchanted Emporium specialises in lotions, potions, witchcraft supplies and blends of tea. Famed for The Wishing Spell range, which are everyday lotions and candles with a magical twist, and social media sensation, a ginger Maine Coon named Vincent.

With every purchase, by one of the witches chooses a complimentary tea blend. Are you prepared to drink it and be guided in ways you least expect?

I hope you enjoyed discovering more about The Enchanted Emporium. I will share more insights into the world in the future but for now take care and stay safe.

Jess’ Etsy shop is here and her website is here for more of her artwork and commissions.

Love