The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Sangu Mandanna brings warmth, diversity, and humor to a magical realism novel with romance, danger, and suspense. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is one of my favorite books of 2022.
Witch Mika Moon has been taught that she needs to hide her magic and stay away from other witches to avoid drawing attention to their magic. As an orphan raised by a stranger, she’s used to being alone and following most of the rules. However, she is a bit of a rebel. She posts videos online pretending to be a witch and assuming no one will believe it.
However, someone does. They message her, asking her to come to Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. Breaking the rules she’s grown up with, Mika accepts and gets involved with the odd assortment at the house. There’s the absent archaeologist, the retired actor, the librarian, the housekeeper, the gardener, and three witches ranging in age from seven to ten. Mika learns that there are secrets, and soon, danger and suspense come into play.
Mika has a great personality. She is likeable and relatable. Her loneliness and lack of connection to others is palpable. I loved her sense of humor. The other main characters have great depth as well. The author does a great job of showing readers each character’s feelings as well as their unspoken thoughts. Terracotta, the middle child, was fantastic, but all three children had distinctive personalities. It was fascinating to watch them discover new aspects of themselves. These unique characters made the book much more enthralling to read.
This is a wonderfully executed story with extraordinary and diverse characters and a setting that came alive. The writing and dialogue flow well. The chemistry between Mika and Jamie creates an added layer to the storyline. There are unpredictable moments in the story that provide some unexpected twists at the end of the novel. I did not want this book to end. My only quibble is that I wanted more suspense in the novel. Themes include loneliness, lack of belonging, friendship, connections, love, community, trust, and family.
Overall, this is a warm, uplifting and feel-good novel that brought me a lot of reading joy. It captivated me from beginning to end. If you like charming and heartwarming stories with humor, romance, secrets, and some danger, then this is definitely a book to check out. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.
Berkley Publishing Group and Sangu Mandanna provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for August 23, 2022.