I don’t watch much television. I only have one that, oddly enough, I bought on eBay. I don’t have cable and my antenna reception is full of static, so I often rely on Netflix. The only problem with this? I’m never aware of current series, I’m always about a year behind. So this means I missed out on the delightful Witches of East End. Yes, I’m serious. I love that show – mostly the house (that kitchen!). And I’m particularly fond of the uptight-hair-in-a-bun librarian stereotype that’s poor Ingrid embodies*. She’s my favorite librarian since the incomparable Giles.
Despite my love for the show, I discovered it about one month before I found of that it has now been cancelled. I was perhaps more devastated than I should have been, but I was really looking forward to the evolution of the house, which changes with the moods of matriarch Joanna. Needless to say, when I discovered it was based on a novel, I was thrilled. So I dutifully placed my hold at the library.
I got it. I read it. And I was disappointed.
The Beauchamp women – Joanna, Freya, and Ingrid – are three beautiful women living in North Hampton. Mother Joanna is a powerful witch prohibited from using her powers, as are her two daughters. If they do, they may end up in a Salem situation again. Ingrid, the town librarian, is so uptight she’s earned the name Frigid Ingrid, while Freya easily maintains her wild child status. Each feels stifled without magic in their lives, until each brings it back in their own way. Joanna brings it back to please a child, Ingrid brings it back to help a friend, and Freya uses it to help the lovelorn. Everything is innocent until things begin to go wrong – a fidelity knot ends up in a suicide, a little boy gets a severe case of the flu, and a love potion ends in murder. Is it magic? Are the women causing it? Or is someone out to get them?
This book had potential. Three powerful women hiding in plain sight? It’s a great set-up, but it fell flat. The characters are one dimensional and a little ridiculous. Each one had bits I liked, especially Ingrid. I love when books take the opportunity to make librarians as great as they really are, but honestly, Ingrid wore her hair in a bun so much that she didn’t even know how long her hair was. And Freya embodied the young wild child a bit too well – young, flirty, bartender who cheats on her fiancée at her own engagement party? It’s over the top in a way I didn’t enjoy. 2/5. Not great, but not awful.
In this rare instance, skip the book and go straight to the show.
It feels weird to recommend the show over the book, but I do? Is there any movie or show that you enjoy more than the books it was based on? Do you ever obsess over on screen houses? I do. All. The. Time.
Pair this one with baked good. To impress a little boy, Joanna bakes cookies, cakes, and pies for him. Try this famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. It takes over 24 hours, but it’s worth the wait.
*Okay, I’m lying, but I do love that there is a librarian in a popular television series. Or not so popular, as the case may be.
11 thoughts on “Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz”
I didn’t know the show, and the book looked great… until you said it wasn’t. So I’ll look for the TV series 🙂
And yes, I love to see those houses on TV, specially houses in the US, where everybody seems to live in big houses, with garden, several floors, an attic (an attic!!). My little flat looks ridiculous compare to those houses 🙂
They always make American houses look huge, and quite a few houses are that way outside of the city, but most of us live in very normal homes. And even though I would never want a house that big, I still love to look at them.
I definitely prefer the show of Hemlock Grove to the book (although, I’m still behind on the new season). I really enjoyed its terrible schlock and camp. Somehow, this was all absent or fell flat in the book, which I barely remember.
I’ll have to look up this one on Netflix. I’m only mildly aware of it.
It’s kind of crap, honestly, but it’s fun.
I’m usually kind of 50/50 whether I prefer the book or the movie/show. I think some of Nicholas Sparks’ novels are better as movies (like Dear John – I thought the movie was great but was so bored by the book). I can get very upset if an important detail (or my favourite scene) from the book is changed in the movie. I really like tv shows that are just inspired by a book but doesn’t try to replicate it, like Haven and Under the Dome. Then I don’t feel cheated.
Oh, I also obsess over on screen houses. All the time. On screen gardens too.
Me too! I’m a botany librarian, so I’m always interested in the landscaping houses have.
Yeah, I notice houses in movies and tv shows. In fact, most recently in the movie version of Before I Go to Sleep. Also the house in the Twilight movies – amazing. And, at a ridiculously detailed level, the only thing I liked about the movie version of Eat, Pray, Love (because didn’t finish the book) was a stunning silver and glass water jug on a beautifully set table in one of the Italian scenes. So yeah, I notice.
The house in the Twilight movies was the only thing that made the Twilight movies worth watching, really.
I notice too. It’s a little ridiculous. But we are all passionate about something. I like to covet movie sets.
I also disliked this one but I will give the show a shot even though it’s been cancelled. Having a proper setup established is important.. all those fine details do get noticed. I know I notice. 🙂
The show was much better than the book, though it is a bit campy and over the top. Still, the house…