Natalie Whipple has a knack for drawing a clear and interesting world through the eyes of her main character with a few simple sentences. It is done with a mastery of language that engages the reader while be simple and compelling. Reading any of her books is an easy and quick escape to somewhere new and filled with beautiful relationships. House of Ivy and Sorrow is a strong novel with strong female characters and plenty of action.
In this third novel from Whipple, all magic is dark. It longs to consume the witches who wield the magic and demands sacrifices from those witches commensurate with what the witches want the spell to do. One could raise the dead, but the price would be far too much. Witches can teleport; the price is a lock of hair. Some spells literally cost an arm (and presumably a leg). Witches who consume too much magic come under the magic’s control and give in to its darkness.
When a man mysteriously finds 17-year-old Jo Hemlock in a place that he shouldn’t be, the Hemlock witches face the Curse that killed Jo’s mother. Jo and her grandmother must decide who they can trust and find allies to help them with their quest to be rid of the curse.
Disturbing secrets are revealed, mysteries are uncovered, and in the end, the reader knows exactly how the rest of the story should go. However, Whipple and her characters have other ideas, and they are better. The story eventually gets to where the reader wants it to be, so there is no disappointment in that area.
(As a side note, like Transparent, this novel has a teen girl who drives a truck though the truck is not near as integral in this story.)
If you think that pudding is a salve, friendships should be binding, and the world is full of magic, get this book. Readers of House of Ivy and Sorrow will only experience the joy of meeting new friends and the surprise that comes with Whipple’s crisp prose and fast moving plots, and the magic that comes from a well-crafted tale.