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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine 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
on October 7, 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
Format: HardcoverVine 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
VINE VOICEon October 25, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine 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
Format: HardcoverVine 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was surprised by how interestng t his book was. I've read alot of books that explore "magic" and the people that live those lives but this one had more substance and kept me interested from beginning to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )Verified Purchase
The marvel of Petty Magic is how it takes an eternal, familiar element of fantasy and fairy tales and makes it utterly new. The author is obviously steeped in witch lore and history, but then tears it down to the ground and then builds it back a little differently. The result is a community of witches that follows conventions, but seems like nothing you've read before.

Part of that is the setting, a mixture of present-day New Jersey and flashbacks to World War II in Europe. A bigger part is the voice of the main character. She's totally credible as a hundreds-year-old woman, simultaneously cranky, stubborn, courageous, vain, and occasionally selfless. She's also shamelessly sexual, though the book is never lurid.

The result is a really compelling read that I stayed up far too late to finish! It's never too sentimental, and despite high drama it's never overwrought. The total experience is unique. I couldn't quite give it 5 stars because at the end it didn't feel quite finished to me, but I still recommend it highly.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I adored everything about this book and read it lightning fast. All I wanted to do was find a way to jump into those pages and live in the world DeAngelis created. Not only is Petty Magic beautifully written but it had an old fashioned kind of feel that reminded me of fairy tales I used to read as a child with a slightly darker, more adult edge. "Enchanting" is probably the best word to describe it.

I definitely can't wait to read it again because it was just one of those stories where you need to do a double-take to make sure you didn't miss any of those great, juicy details!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I adore revisionist history. When I picked this book up on a whim and read the description, I was tickled. This book combined revisionist history, witches, magic, and true love. Just a few of my very favorite things!

I enjoyed this novel. It was an interesting take on witches and witchcraft. I loved the extended lifetimes of the "beldames" and their family members. I found it hysterical that the witches travel "by loo." Think Harry Potter and traveling by flue, but instead of a chimney, it's a toilet. I puffy heart loved the gingerbread replica of the family home at the Winter Solstice, and how the tiny candy inhabitants' location in the house mirrored the location of the actual person it represented. This novel was full of tiny details like this and these tiny details made it totally loveable.

The plot of the novel was two-fold. There's the plot of Evelyn-in-the-past. This aspect of the plot follows Evelyn through her historic travels in Nazi Germany. It is during this time that she meets and falls in love with Jonah, the love of her life. There's also the plot of Evelyn-in-the-present. This aspect of the plot deals with Evelyn and her developing relationship with Justin, a man who reminds her entirely too much of Jonah. The two plots run in tandem. Present day events trigger Evelyn's remembrance of the events of the past. DeAngelis beautifully weaves the two timelines together to tell one cohesive tale.

My only issue with this novel was that it read fairly slowly. 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. That is not to say I didn't absolutely enjoy the story, but I think the pacing could have

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. I would definitely recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 11, 2011
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Petty Magic" is an excellent read and is a testament to Camille DeAngelis' imagination.

Although flawed, most of the characters are easy to relate to on an emotional level. With the way the story is framed up, a memoir from the point of view of Evelyn Harbinger, of course if Evelyn doesn't "like" someone, they're drawn in such a way that makes them easy to boo and hiss at instead of viewing them objectively. It would be like this, if "Petty Magic" were really a memoir instead of a novel framed as a memoir, so instead of being a flaw, I think it's a big strength. And because as a reader, you're only getting things from Evelyn's perspective, things that other characters do might not readily make sense, without going back and re-reading certain passages, to try to see things through an alternate lens.

The two plots, one set in present day and the other set during World War Two, are twinned together expertly, and there are parts of this novel that are definite page-turners. I was reading this at bedtime and never got the light shut off before 2 a.m. while I was reading, and even then, I put the book down only reluctantly. There are some mysteries thrown in alongside the general day-to-day of life as an aging beldame, to keep things moving along. And actually, the creepiest moments of "Petty Magic" are not spent at a seance or in the company of Evelyn's coven. They're spent in the presence of Nazis during World War Two. Truly spine-chilling stuff, there.

One of the highlights for me of "Petty Magic" was the descriptions of the "warrens," where the beldames and magi live in buildings long-ago torn down, right under the noses of unsuspecting ordinary people. But this book overall was such a nice surprise, so complex but so easy to get immersed in.
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