Monday, May 31, 2021

Three Witches in a Small Town by Willie E. Dalton

Reviewed by Jeanne

Sisters Agatha, Maeve, and Cerulean have all left their small hometown in the mountains to make their own way in the world, but when Mamaw Mabry calls, they return. Mamaw feels that her time is drawing near.  She wants the girls to have a last chance to learn from her before she departs this world for the next.

The girls are devoted to their grandmother, having grown up under her watchful eye.  They have always known that they have certain gifts—reading tea leaves, premonitions, and the like—but now Mamaw needs them to hone these gifts and to accept their destinies as Appalachian witches.  They will need to help their community once she is gone.

Bound by love to Mabry, her granddaughters are determined to do what they can to please her-- but can these girls be happy living in a small town?

This book is by local author Willie E. Dalton who won the Jan-Carol Publishing Believe and Achieve Award.  It’s more of a romance than I expected; it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that each sister is going to find a too good to be true man to adore her. Somehow I don’t get a strong sense of place other than rural.  Briars and dirt roads are pretty much everywhere as are Home Depots and Targets.  I would like to have seen more character development and more showing and less telling.

The New Age/ Appalachian witch parts were well done; more description and feeling came through.  The strong ties to herbs and the natural world were also bright spots.

Overall, I think this is a good debut.  The parts written from Mabry’s point of view are the strongest and some of the scenes near the end are very nice indeed.  I’d have enjoyed it more if it had been a little more fleshed out in terms of characters and place, but I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for local tales brushed with magic.

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