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Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker Hardcover – October 5, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307454231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307454232
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,446,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers who endure the extensive Lake Wobegon–style exposition that launches DeAngelis's second novel (where every witch is above average) will be rewarded with a moving and witty love story. Evelyn is a randy old witch who uses her powers to appear young and pick up men at bars. When she meets Justin, the new proprietor of a local antique shop, she believes that he may be the reincarnation of her long-lost love, Jonah. Eve's narration alternates between the present-day romance and WWII spy stories as members of her coven come out with a shocking accusation against her sister, Helena. DeAngelis (Mary Modern) gives Eve an engaging narrative voice, though the frequent use of British terms like "loo," "gent," and "mobile" is jarring given Eve's supposed American origins. These minor flaws detract only slightly from the core stories of love and deceit, enhanced by DeAngelis's charming prose.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Evelyn Harbinger is a witch, but not one of those sinister ones with gnarled fingers and warts on her nose. She uses her extraordinary powers for good, healing the injured and helping people fall in love. At age 149, she has enjoyed a life span nearly twice that of mere mortals. Though her typical appearance is grandmotherly and sweet, if Evelyn is attracted to a man, she can transform herself, albeit temporarily, into a voluptuous, thirtysomething siren. That’s just what she does when she meets Justin, who works at an antique shop near her sister’s bed-and-breakfast in upstate New York. Bright, handsome Justin bears an eerie resemblance to Jonah, Evelyn’s partner in espionage (and romance) when the two served the Allies during WWII. Evelyn begins to wonder whether Justin may be an incarnation of her late beau, who was killed during a raid. Critics have compared novelist DeAngelis (whose works include the acclaimed Mary Modern, 2007) to a modern-day Mary Shelley, but this latest entry, while an amusing romp, is only mildly bewitching. --Allison Block

More About the Author

Camille DeAngelis is the author of Mary Modern, Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker, and the forthcoming Bones & All, as well as a first-edition guidebook, Moon Ireland. She is a graduate of New York University and the National University of Ireland, Galway, and currently lives in Boston. Camille is also a certified vegan lifestyle coach through Victoria Moran's Main Street Vegan Academy.

Customer Reviews

If you are needing something to make you smile this cold, nasty winter this book will do the trick.
The Queen of Floydavia
Miss Evelyn Harbinger, age 149, has led a remarkable life even for a witch who, in Evelyn's story, can live several liftetimes longer than a mere human.
Janice Sims
I am a very fast reader, but for some reason, this novel took me a very long time to read and it felt like it was dragging on for a long time.
Kelly Houser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Sozaeva VINE VOICE on December 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An extraordinarily appealing book, "Petty Magic" jumps between the present (where Evelyn is 149 and, having fallen in love with the young Justin is going through some crazy stunts to try to keep him from seeing the "real" her while maintaining her youthful disguise as long as possible) and the past - especially during World War II, where she worked with OSE as a spy and where she met her first great love, Jonah - of whom she believes Justin is a reincarnation.

There are other elements to the story, including inter-coven rivalries and accusations. Understand that these women are not witches and that they sneer at the term - it is used by "dabblers" and "frooty-toots," as they call normals who engage in New Age escapades. They are called beldames and their power is very real.

Written in a style that is warm, wry and often laugh-out-loud funny, I really can't recommend this book enough for anyone who enjoys reading a good book. I don't even know how to typify this one - it has elements of romance, obviously, but they don't overwhelm. It is magical reality, aspects of fantasy, women's fiction, action/adventure ... there is just a lot to love in this little book. Definitely pick it up and give it a read - you won't regret it!! You will only regret (like I did) that you didn't get it sooner.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By misplaced cajun on October 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Evelyn Harbinger is as feisty as ever, even at 149 years old! She's known just one true love in all that time, but it could just be that she's fallen again. Unfortunately, he's over 100 years her junior. Complicating things more is the fact that her sister has just been accused of murder (for the decades old death of her first husband) and proving her innocence after so long is something of a challenge. As Evelyn recalls her younger years and her long ago love affair, the reader is treated to a wonderful history of witches and Harbingers.

Evelyn is quite simply one of the most enchanting heroines ever. This is a book that reaches beyond simple genre labels and will appeal to fans of paranormal reads, lighthearted lit fic, and even historical fiction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a lovely book about 149-year-old beldame Evelyn Harbinger, a witch who uses her power exactly as prescribed and allowed by her coven --"By magic I shall do no harm, except in defense of myself or another." Eve uses her abilities to transform herself into a young woman each night and then goes about using her charms and wiles on unsuspecting human men. She's adventurous, lonely -- and greedy!

Told in the second person, Eve takes "you" on a journey into her world. She plies you with tidbits about being a witch in the modern world and explains how she travels and what she eats. In short, she shows you what witches are and aren't. Eve is about her business when she meets a young man, Justin, who reminds her of her long lost love -- a man she met and fell in love with during World War II, in Europe, where they worked together in the French Resistance to defeat the Nazi regime. Typically, witch-mortal romances are disastrous -- after all, he ages normally while she retains her youth and lives a very long life. She can't say no to this chance to reconnect with the spirit of her dead lover, Jonah. She must have Justin.

A fun novel dealing with World War II history, magic and love. What more could a reader want on a cool autumn night -- read it for a warm feeling!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Matlack VINE VOICE on October 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Kudos to Camille DeAngelis for coming up with a fresh spin on witches, a unique storyline and a Fabulous Heroine to carry it off.

Eve is not like any witch you've read about before. She is sassy and Hot-to-trot yet still exudes some class and discretion. The reincarnation bit with Jonah/Justin does have the odd feel of juggling two men at once since the story skips back and forth between the past and present. However DeAngelis, thankfully is a talented enough storyteller it dosen't come off in a disturbing way.

Despite the rather serious nature of Eve's WWII experinces, this book still managed to be a really enjoyable story about a woman who makes the most of life and loves many opportunities. I also enjoyed Ms. DeAngelis' bibliography/reading list that inspired her wonderful little tale. Somehow I just enjoy a story more when the author takes the time to research her story and give it a bit more substance. Loved it!

I will most assuredly be passing this along to friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M.Jacobsen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For some reason, likely the full title of this novel (Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker), I was expecting this to be a quaint, cutesy-like little novel full of harmless, sweet witches and leaving you with a cozy feel by the end of it.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

While Petty Magic does indeed feature witches, it has this wonderful historical fiction like feel to it. Our witchy protagonist, Eve, is of course a witch who is 150 years old, witches aging much slower than us normal folk, you see. Like most witches described in the book, Eve is benevolent and doesn't use her magical abilities to harm anyone....instead, she spends her time and magic (or, as they say, her "oomph") rolling back the aging clock to make herself appear as she did in her twenties. Even witches are vain. She trolls for men in bars at night, but it is a aimless existence.

Until she meets a young man who Eve comes to believe is the reincarnated version of her one, true love....a British spy who died in WWII when he and Eve worked with the French Resistance to oust the Nazis.

The chapters alternate between present day and Eve's memories of what happened to her mortal lost love Jonah....and in doing so, provides a very good look at Nazi occupied France. Ultimately, Eve must make a choice, though, and magic can't cure a broken heart.

It's a sweet novel, but be aware that Eve is a little raunchy....I kept finding myself a tad surprised whenever Eve used a crude reference to anatomy, lol. I'm no prude, but it felt a little out of place in the novel at first. But by the end, I was a total convert and loved every word that was written.
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