Ellie O'Neill Simon & Schuster Australia Published 1st October 2014 Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.
I finished Reluctantly Charmed in the midst of a wicked hangover while on a train. While I had been reading, I forgot that every bump in the ride made me want to throw up and that my head was spinning. I just concentrated on the words and when I made it to the end, I had to start it all over again. Needless to say, a book that can make me forget about my painful hangover (self-inflicted, yes) is a pretty damn good book.
Even before the hangover, though, I had been enjoyed Reluctantly Charmed, which tells the story of Kate McDaid, who on her 26th birthday receives an inheritance from a much older Kate McDaid, a relative she knew nothing about. The older Kate McDaid died 130 years before and in order for the younger Kate McDaid to receive her inheritance, she must publish seven letters in the form of ‘Steps’, a kind of instruction to the world. At first they seem pretty harmless, say hello to flowers, appreciate nature – and acknowledge the existence of fairies. Kate never meant for it go viral but it does, catapulting her into unwanted spotlight. Now the whole of Ireland is talking about whether fairies are real and Kate finds herself as a new celebrity. And while the Steps seem harmless at first, as time goes on with the publication of each Step and things seem to spiral out of control, Kate starts to wonder if there’s something more sinister at work here.
Does it sound like a total cliché to say that I was charmed by Reluctantly Charmed? It was just such an entertaining read! It was funny and witty and I just couldn’t put it down (two in a row!). I enjoyed the character of Kate, the reluctant celebrity, as well as secondary characters such as Matthew (so glad there was no romantic storyline there, proving that men and women can be just friends), the elusive Hugh, Kate’s parents (who were also newfound celebrities) and the Anoraks (great name!). I fell in love with Ireland as depicted in the book, both Dublin and the older town of Knocknamee and while I had always planned to go there at some stage, I kind of want to go now! Such great storytelling really brought the setting alive for me. My only little gripe is at the end everything seemed a little bit too happy ever after, everything tied up nicely and everyone is pleased but I guess that does happen sometimes in life, doesn’t it?
Reluctantly Charmed is my first stab at magical realism as a genre (is it a genre?) and it gave off that wonderful ‘what if?’ vibe that I love, where you wonder if things like this could really happen, even if you are a scientist and you believe in proving things with science, it’s still nice to be able to be enchanted by magical novels such as this one.