Monday, February 28, 2011

The Book of Spells

The Book of Spells
by Kate Brian
A Private Prequel

The year is 1915 when sixteen-year-old Eliza Williams arrives at the Billings School for Girls in Easton, Connecticut. Her parents expect her to learn the qualites of a graceful, dutiful wife. But Eliza and her housemates have a dangerous secret: They're witches. After finding a dusty, leather bound spell book, the Billings Girls form a secret coven. Bonded in sisterhood, they cast spells--cursing their headmistress with laryngitis, brewing potions to bolster their courage before dances, and conjuring beautiful dresses out of old rags. The girls taste freedom and power for the first time, but what starts out as innocent fun turns sinister when one of the spells has an unexpected-and deadly-consequence. Magic could bring Eliza everything she's ever wanted...but it could also destroy everything she holds dear.
(description taken from

I am conflicted about this book. Not in the sense that I didn't like it. I did. Honestly, I love Kate Brian's books. My confliction stems from the fact that I adore, really truly LOVE, the Private series. It is one of the few contemporary realistic fiction series that I will run to grab as soon as they come into the library. So, when I heard that Brian was doing a prequel, I was excited. Then I found out it was a supernatural themed book and my heart sank a little...

SO. When I read this book, I did have to acknowledge that it's connected to the rest of the series. There are characters that are related to future Easton Academy attendees and it was fun to see how the Billings School for Girls and the Easton School for Boys combined... However, I honestly tried to read this story completely on its own. I tried to divorce it in mind so that I could just enjoy this book alone...and I did!

I really liked the witchcraft aspect of this book. The girls have to learn to balance their excitement at being able to cast spells and their responsibilities to not take things too far. Brian, as always, has a way of making romance difficult and intriguing...and creates the best frenemies scenarios I have EVER encountered. This book definitely pulled me right in, just like all of Brian's other books have in the past.

Now, I have to read the next Private book, Ominous, and see how this whole supernatural prequel will affect the final two books in the series. As much as I loved it, I really hope it doesn't alter the tone of the series too much. I really loved these books just as they are!

Any one else read this series? Thoughts??

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