Thursday, August 18, 2022

Review: SPELLS FOR FORGETTING by Adrienne Young


Rating: 4.25/5 stars

I picked this book up on a whim and I’m so glad I did because it was delightful! There’s an unsolved murder, a fire, a spell, a secret, a reclusive dark and forested town, and a whole lot of lies in this story. When August comes back to Saoirse Island after escaping eleven years ago, the whole island is anxious for him to leave again, but his visit is going to stir up more memories and secrets and enemies than anyone bargained for. 

Spells for Forgetting is a mystery novel that takes place on the mysterious Saorise Island off the coast of Seattle. Saorise Island isn’t a real place, but the Pacific Northwest vibes were still so accurate in this story! I grew up in the Seattle area, and I love to read books set in that area because there’s just a special ambiance in the air there that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. 

Adrienne Young writes with beautiful, descriptive prose that helps to create a lush and atmospheric setting. I kept getting swept up in her words, and I’d end up reading five or ten chapters at a time when I’d planned on only one. This book is compulsively readable. 

Despite how long it took me to finish this book, it is actually the kind of book you could read in just one or two sittings. I’ve been in the middle of moving and working extra hours and generally being busier than normal during the last month, which has led to drastically less reading time than I normally have. It took me two weeks to read this book, but Spells for Forgetting is the kind of book I would have loved to finish in just a couple days if I had had the time because I was so wrapped up in the story and the characters. 

August and Emery really come to life in this novel. I loved getting to see snippets of their lives eleven years ago before everything happened and know how they used to be, and then get to see them in the current day and see how things have changed. You can feel so much yearning between them, even after all this time. This book has a second-chance romance aspect in it, but it doesn’t come into play until very late in the story. I loved them both though, and I’m happy we got to read from both of their POVs. 

I’ve seen Spells for Forgetting classified as fantasy, but it isn’t really; it’s a mystery. There is a very minor fantastical element included in the form of spells, but it’s the kind of spells that don’t feel fantastical. There aren’t mages or incantations but instead an old apothecary and an ancient book of herbal remedies and spells that seem more paranormal than fantastical. It feels like magic in the way that tarot cards and ouija boards and reading tea leaves feel like magic, but they’re still very much rooted in reality. I think fantasy readers will enjoy this book, but categorizing it solely as fantasy is cutting out a huge audience of fiction readers who would also enjoy this book. 

Spells for Forgetting reminded me a lot of A History of Wild Places, not in the plot but in the setting and the overall feel of the story. I loved that book and I loved this book, so if anyone knows of more similar titles, send them my way. 

I really enjoyed my time spent reading this novel. It was my first book by Adrienne Young, but her writing was so good that now I want to check out some of her other works. I definitely recommend Spells for Forgetting and can't wait to talk to my friends about it. 

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