The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
August 23, 2022, by Berkley
Review by Angela
This is probably the most charming book I’ve read in a good long while. It kind of reminded me of a cross between Practical Magic and Mary Poppins, taking the very best parts of each and mashing them together into a wonderful found family paranormal romance.
Mika Moon is a witch. A fabulously warm, positive woman who finds joy in the simple things in life even though she has not one person who she’s really close to or can depend on. Raised by a standoffish elder in the magic community, she moves around frequently, never putting down roots. Because of a spell gone wrong hundreds of years ago witches can not bear children and if they do they will die shortly after, leaving those children orphans. Primrose has also drummed into her head that witches need to stay away from each other, it’s just safer that way. The only time she sees other witches is the third Thursday every third month. So Mika lives a solitary life with her dog, her koi pond, her funny social media videos, and her magic.
Then she receives a weirdly worded comment one day on one of her videos and is intrigued. So she heads out to Nowhere House for a meeting. What she finds is a magical house where three young witches live together with their caretakers. Their adoptive parent travels often and leaves the girls with her housekeeper, librarian, and the groundskeeper and his husband. These four wonderful human beings have worried that they haven’t provided all that the girls need, most especially in regard to their magical education. So despite the disagreements between them, they finally agree to engage a tutor for that purpose.
Mika is like a breath of fresh air to the estate. Even the grumpy, standoffish (but oh so sweet and loving) librarian can’t help but see her sparkle and shine. The heartfelt camaraderie and dedication between the household members of Nowhere house are what make this book so wonderfully engaging. Readers won’t be able to help but smile at all their antics.
I went into this book completely as a clean slate, not being familiar with the author or their backlist. I’m happy to report I was hooked almost from the first word and as the story progressed I fell more and more in love with every character. The romance is quiet, but actually kind of swoony. In my opinion, the very best part is Mika finding her own place to call home and being accepted for who she is by this very loving, eccentric family. She even manages to change parts of the witch community that keep them separate and apart from each other. The children in the house bring so much joy in their own right and their hijinks while they are flexing their magical muscles was both amusing and emotional.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches should be on every paranormal romance lover’s to-read list. Highly recommend.