Monday, 22 September 2014

Review: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

Irish folklore, fairies and modern day Dublin come together in this brilliant, funny debut by Irish-Australian author Ellie O'Neill. Reluctantly Charmed is a story about fairies. It's also a romance. Most importantly, it is also a great deal of fun with a loveable heroine and a lot of self-depreciating humour.  

Kate McDaid is working in an advertising agency in Dublin and believes that her career prospects are going nowhere. She is also a little, well, concerned about her love life which seems to be going about as well as her career is. Then something completely unexpected happens, in the form of an inheritance from a great aunt who died 130 years ago. This aunt, who was also named by Kate McDaid, was a witch. In order for Kate to receive her inheritance, she must publish a series of seven poems each week. The poems each contain a surprising request--that people reconnect with the fairies of Irish Folklore. Kate publishes the first letter on an obscure website. Hilarity--and calamity--ensure when the poems spark a revival of interest in fairies. From there, Kate finds her life change in a number of unexpected ways.

As I stated at the beginning of this review, Reluctantly Charmed is a lot of fun. Each of the poems changes Kate's life in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes for the better and well, sometimes not. Author Ellie O'Neill's ability to mix folklore with a modern-day Ireland is commendable. I also loved the romantic subplot--initially, Hugh seems like an unlikely possible love interest for Kate, but as the book wore on, I found myself hoping that the two would eventually pair off. The ending is bittersweet, though fitting for the novel. 

Recommended reading for all fans of chick-lit and women's fiction. 

Reluctantly Charmed will be released on October 1 2014.

Finally, a bit shout out to Anna from Simon and Schuster Australia for my advance reading copy. 

PS Keep an eye out for my interview will Ellie O'Neill next month.