A Tangle of Spells - Michelle Harrison

'Everyone knows that magic and trouble go hand in hand...'

The Widdershins sisters are back and are leaving Crowstones with their father and granny to make a new start in Pendlewick where the sun shines and the village is centred around a green where the pond and the Hungry Tree stand.  As the family settle into the crooked Blackbird Cottage, all is not as it seems: the villagers are behaving strangely; nobody wants to talk about magic and then the sisters find a hidden room in the cottage.  When Fliss starts acting strangely and Betty and Charlie realise she has been bewitched, the race is on to save her but will their magic be strong enough to defeat the spell that has been cast of the village?

It's well-known that I am a huge fan of all of Michelle's work so there was an audible scream of excitement when I realised last Friday that A Tangle of Spells was available on Netgalley!  Never have I made a request so quickly!

From the very beginning, it was wonderful to be back with Fliss, Betty and Charlie, and I found myself shedding a tear along with the girls as they bid farewell to The Poacher's Pocket.  However, excitement soon takes over and the village of Pendlewick couldn't be more different to Crowstones.  The village sounds wonderful and has THE most wonderfully named places: Bread-and-Cheese Hill (apparently this place actually exists in real life!); Sugar Loaf, The Splintered Broomstick, Tick Tock Forest... the names alone are enough to entice me to jump into the book and join the girls!  Michelle revealed to map for the book earlier today at it just adds to the ambience! 

The girls' individual personalities again come to the fore in this book with Fliss' flirtatious ways leading to trouble, leaving Betty and Charlie to come to the rescue.  Betty shows us just how brave she is in this book and I love each of the girls but I think Charlie is my favourite: her mispronunciation of words and phrases is endearing (tenterhooks become tentacles; instincts become in stinks); her clothes done-up the wrong way at times, and her blunt manner (blunt but truthful!) all make me love her.  She the youngest but hates being treated like that - she wants to be an equal and proves that she is worthy on more than one occasion.

I have to say that this, for me, was the darkest of the Widdershins books so far, and oh, there is so much suspense!  With a host of sinister characters and people and places behaving in the most peculiar way, the book will have you gripped - and I promise that there is a twist that you really won't see coming (I most certainly didn't and it made me gasp audibly!).  This is a book that you will need to take time to read because, if you are anything like me, once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down!

I always feel torn with books that engross me like A Tangle of Spells: on the one hand, I am desperate to simply gobble up every page as I need to know what's going to happen next as soon as is humanly possible; however, on the other hand, I want to savour every moment in an attempt to be part of the lives of the main characters for as long as I can.  This time, devouring the pages won over, largely because I'd finished for Christmas and had the time to do that!  However, the girls have stayed with me since the end of the book and I find myself imagining that I'm wandering through Pendlewick (though avoiding Tick Tock Forest!).

I honestly think that A Tangle of Spells is the best of the Widdershins stories yet and I can't wait to see what Michelle has in store for the sisters next!

Due for release February 2021.

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