Author: Ellie O'Neill
Genre: Magical Realism
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
"Kate McDaid is listing her new-year’s resolutions hoping to kick-start her rather stagnant love life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week.
Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Almost instantaneously, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye.
As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil her great-aunt’s final, devastating request ... and whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t.
Witty, enchanting and utterly addictive, Reluctantly Charmed is about what happens when life in the fast lane collides with the legacy of family, love and its possibilities … and a little bit of magic. "
Reluctantly Charmed was a delight to read; easy and sweet, the book flowed well through the ups and downs of Kate's life.
O'Neill does a fabulous job of getting Kate's character across at all times. The narrative twists and turns, lose and filled with digressions at times, which is exactly the kind of person Kate is presented as being: always a little confused by life, but happy to go along with it. The line O'Neill treads with the narrative is a thin one between cute, good characterisation and an overwhelming amount of telling instead of showing; she successfully manages to keep it always on the good side of it throughout the novel.
I loved the fact that, for all that it starts off as a funny, quirky novel about what would happen if fairies were real and suddenly wanted to reconnect, in the end it posed much more important questions about freedom, about humanity and human nature. Seeing Kate grow was a beautiful process, aided by an extremely colourful secondary cast of characters.
Definitely worth a read to anyone looking for a fun, whacky novel that will sweep you away to a charming world.