Release Date: 03/02/11
The year is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Eliza Williams has just arrived at the Billings School for Girls, the sister school of Easton Academy, founded to turn girls into dutiful wives. Eliza's parents expect her to learn the qualities needed to be a graceful and obedient wife, but Eliza has a dangerous secret she's a witch! After finding a dusty, leather-bound spell book, Eliza forms a secret coven with eleven other Billings girls, disguising their gatherings as a literary society to keep their teachers from discovering the truth. Bonded in sisterhood, they cast spells - cursing the headmistress, giving blisters to boys with wandering hands and conjuring beautiful dresses out of rags. The girls taste freedom and power for the first time, but what starts out as innocent fun turns into something more sinister when one of the spells has an unexpected -- and deadly - consequence. Eliza realises that magic could bring her everything she's ever wanted but it could also destroy everything she holds dear. But is it too late to stop what she's started?
To be honest this is the book that when I originally heard about it gave me goosebumps. This is purely for the fact that at times the series has taken a bit of a dive from the original releases and lost a lot of its lustre. That said however, I was a little apprehensive as I wondered if the author had left it a little late to reinvent and was possibly looking for an easy option to achieve the next release date. After all a chance to revitalise as well as reinvent doesn’t come around very often and with the chance to introduce new readers without them having read the other titles in the modern series left this more as a make or break type of title.
What originally will strike the reader with this book is that the characters are not only designed but fit into this world extremely well with traits that modern readers can associate with and when backed with some descent dialogue and a clear demonstration that the author plays for keeps, allows the reader to enjoy the whole story. The only real downside is the finish as it felt rushed and haphazard although with a bit of luck the author will return to play in the world of 1915 again.