By Marilyn Messik
Published by Matador (12 June 2017)
I received a copy from the author.
A red gash of a mouth rimmed with impossibly tiny, razor-sharp teeth yawned wide, then swift as a snake, she bent and struck…
For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.
From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know. Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the happier she’s going to be.
Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons, get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same – as fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment Sandra’s struggling to save the family’s income, the next, she’s battling to save their lives. Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.
Witch Dust was great fun to read. It's about a hotel in financial crisis, a completely unconventional upbringing and, literally, life-changing family secrets.
Sandra has very dysfunctional parents - there's no other way to describe them. But it's only when she agrees to help her mother, Ophelia, recover from depression that she discovers her parents are just the tip of a very wobbly iceberg. When her mother leads her to a failing hotel filled with eccentric relatives (a family Sandra didn't even know existed), Sandra soon learns that there's no such thing as 'normal'.
This book is a combination of Bewitched and Harry Potter, filled with magic, as Sandra discovers her family's talents - and some of her own. I laughed my way through most of it - plenty of dark humour in here. And the characters were so brilliantly described that they felt very real - whether I grew to love them or hate them. I think this book cast a spell on me as I raced through most of it, loving the rollercoaster story and the diversity of the people in it. I found myself willing good to win the battle against evil yet again.
Witch Dust is certainly something a little different. A great Halloween read, especially if you love paranormal and fantasy.