One summer night, best friends Olive and Rose begin to lose things. It starts out as little things – hair clips, a bracelet, a shoe. But Rose has lost something bigger – something she isn’t willing to talk about. Olive and Rose meet three strangers: Ivy, Rowan, and Hazel. They have all lost something too. And then they find the spellbook. Could it hold the secrets to bringing back what they have lost?
Oh my days, can I talk about how incredible Moira Fowley-Doyle is? Her mind must be a wonderful place to be.
Magical realism is one of my favourite genres of fiction, and I love it when a book ends and you’re not entirely sure what is real or not. It completely changes your perception on the world we inhabit, and this book really helped me to change how I think about things I have lost, and things I have found.
Spellbook takes place in Ireland, and I loved the Irish heritage and culture that fed through in places. Irish folklore is honestly amazing, and I would love to explore more of it in my own research. Whilst there weren’t always clear links, I think the author explored some different threads in really interesting ways, and I really got a sense of both the place and the atmosphere we were meant to be inhabiting as readers.
This novel was so whimsical, it really felt like I was reading it through a foggy glass, but to be honest – I actually quite liked that. It was this feeling of being taken along with the story rather than reading it to yourself – like it continues behind the pages when you close the book.
Looking at it critically: Fowley-Doyle’s writing is just as good as her ideas, with really beautiful metaphors and she has a talent for invoking the whimsical as well as the creepy. The only negative thing I could say about this book is that it is confusing. Literally all of the main characters (around 8) are named after bloody foliage, and I get why it was done, but I would have really liked a cast. Even just a cast that grouped them into three separate groups so I could actually get to grips with who was who. There were so many times when I had to stop to check who the narrator was and remind themselves of their relationships.
As per Fowley-Doyle’s last novel, the plot twist was just glorious and I gasped aloud when reading.
I cannot wait for her next novel, and I would highly recommend both Spellbook and The Accident Season, which was her debut.
Source: bought from Waterstones