**Thank you to Netgalley and Hodderscape for providing an advance reader copy. This does not affect my review in anyway**
This is one of those books that I found out about because an author I follow had posted about it and was quoted on the cover. In the spirit of trying new things, I decided to give it a go, based solely on aforementioned author’s quote. I didn’t know much about it, didn’t really read the blurb and just decided to request it on Netgalley. Luckily, it all worked out and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is a very strong contender for one of my favourite books of 2022.
A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family—and a new love—changes the course of her life.
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules… with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and… Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for…
There are discussions of trauma and past abuse, as well as references to the racism and homophobia experienced by the characters.
As mentioned above, I didn’t really know a lot about this book. It wasn’t one that had appeared on my radar, but I am so glad I stumbled across it. I ended up reading my advance reader copy in a day and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s the kind of book that you want to read while curled up in a squishy armchair, with a big blanket and a nice hot beverage at your side.
I’m going to apologise in advance if this post rambles on a bit – there were so many things that I loved about The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, that I can’t quite get my thoughts in order!
Having said that, if you love a good found family trope, this book is perfect for you. Found family is one of my favourite tropes in fiction and this book does it so well. I love how Sangu Mandanna portrays the stages of it all – it’s all a bit overwhelming at first, with everyone trying to make feel Mika welcome, but then once it settles down, it’s comfort and familiarity and home. It was so lovely to see, especially given Mika’s backstory and even though she is a fictional character, I was so glad to see Mika find acceptance and a place where she belonged. (There is also the grumpy x sunshine romance trope, but I won’t say anymore than that for fear of spoilers!)
As for the rest of the characters, I loved them all so much. All of them are fiercely protective of their young wards in their own way and it was so lovely to see the younger characters come into their own under Mika’s tutelage. There is so much love and care in this book and it gently pulls you in and wraps you in its warm embrace – if you let it, it becomes a balm to soothe your soul and somewhere to lose yourself for a few hours.
I also really like the writing in this – there were moments that made me laugh out loud and others that made me want to dive into the book and hug one of the characters. The descriptions of Nowhere House were lovely and really added to that delightfully cosy vibe (incidentally, I would *love* to live in a house like Nowhere – it just sounds so nice!)
I’m going to stop there, as I’m struggling to put into words how this book made me feel – it’s one that I hadn’t known I needed until I read it. It has all of the warm, cosy vibes I’ve been really enjoying recently and I really need more of (recommendations appreciated!) I’m so glad I took a chance on it, as it’s the perfect pick-me-up. This is definitely going to be a book I return to again and again – those cosy vibes are just too good to enjoy once.
1 thought on “The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches – Sangu Mandanna”
I adored reading your thoughts on this book! You definitely won me over at the found family and sunshine x grumpy tropes. There’s nothing more lovely than being able to read a book with warm, cozy vibes 💕
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