Published by Simon and Schuster on March 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Family Life, Fiction, General
It’s Kate McDaid’s birthday and she’s hoping to kickstart 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. Instantly, 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 the final, devastating step of the request . . . or whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t.
I really enjoyed the majority of this book. The setting, the characters and the general plot were all really fun and easy to read. While this book was quite long, it was an easy, fun read and I got through it quickly enough.
Kate McDaid was one the best characters I’ve read about in a long time. I genuinely want to be best friends with her. She was funny, charming, cool and clever. She has great friends, including her close friend, Matt, whom she works with. Matt was great, I really enjoyed the addition of a purely platonic relationship between a man and a woman, that never once strayed any further. You don’t come across it very often, espeically in chick-lit type books, and it was really refreshing. Kate’s interest in her career was also really nice to read about. Often in other chick-lit type books* the main character either doesn’t have a career or is “too” career-focused and because of this, can’t land a man. Both of which are ridiculous. Anyway, the way that Kate’s career is approached in this novel was really great. It was really important to her to be great at what she does, but it wasn’t all-consuming.
The author of this book, Ellie O’Neill, is Irish, but lives in Australia. As the book was published in Australia, it is therefore aimed at an Australian audience. This was really cool, because it meant that lots of everyday things that someone from Ireland might not about, were explained. For example, when Kate starts becoming famous and her name and photos start appearing in national papers and television shows, while stating the name of the programme, or the host, there would be a brief description of how significant this is. While this might get annoying for an Irish reader, for me, an Australian, it was really helpful and informative. This was especially helpful when describing the Irish folklore that is very present throughout the novel. Shamefully, I actually knew nothing about the Irish people’s tradition of fairies before I read this novel. It was really fun to learn so much about this partiuclar part of their folklore.
The main plot was pretty cute and interesting, as it was so different. As mentioned, Irish folklore plays a large part in the novel, which is pretty cool. We go through the novel, following Kate as each Step causes more and more chaos throughout Ireland. It did seem to take a while for anything very major to happen. About 3/4 in is when shit finally gets real. However, from then on, it’s also pretty freaking weird. Here’s the thing: I’m not super great with magical realism. I kind of need to know if things are real or not. In this case, I believe things are meant to be real. It was a bit weird and confusing. The last chapter really sums things up pretty well, but was also a bit odd. For instance: View Spoiler »She loses her hair?! Forever?! What’s with that? Fairies are dicks! « Hide Spoiler Things just kind of wrapped up way too abruptly. I would’ve preferred more about what happened at the end rather than the big build up to it.
There were a few things that were a bit predictable, but not necessarily in a bad way. View Spoiler »Jim, for example. It was pretty obvious he was a tool. Hugh, it was also obvious, was the good guy. « Hide Spoiler These all were still fun to read about though, and I don’t mind too much about cliches :)
So overall, I quite liked this. It was a bit too long, but it was nice writing to read. I really liked Kate and the characters in her life. HOWEVER, things get pretty weird, and I don’t really know where I stand in regards to them. I’d definitely give Ellie O’Neill another go though, I liked her writing quite a bit :)
Most importantly, the book had a beautiful setting and made me think a lot about landscapes like this:
Tea was also mentioned a lot, and this is always a good thing. This book made me want to drink many cups of tea:
*I say ‘chick-lit type books’, as I don’t really like using that name as it often means some people automatically write off any books that are labelled as chick-lit, as they think they’ll be really light and stupid. However, chick-lit can be good – it doesn’t have to be too light and silly, it can have depth!