Joanna – also Skadi. She can heal and bring people back from the dead.
Freya – the goddess of love.
Ingrid – also Erda. She can see the future.
Bran – Freya’s fiance. Turns out he’s Loki too.
Killian – Bran’s brother. Turns out he’s Freya’s long lost love, Balder.
Matt – the police officer Ingrid has a crush on.
Helda – we don’t meet her, but she has dominion over the dead so we hear her referenced a number of times.
Norman – also Nordj. Freya and Ingrid’s father.
Bill and Maura Thatcher – an elderly couple attacked in the prologue. Turns out Bran disguised himself as Joanna and killed Bill when he attacked them.
Molly Lancaster – a young girl who was the Mayor’s assistant. She disappears and later turns up dead.
Todd Hutchinson – Mayor. He cheats on his wife (Corky) all the time – and with Molly. He ends up killing Molly and then killing himself.
Emily and Lionel – a couple who aren’t married but together. Lionel gets injured and Joanna brings him back from the dead. But it doesn’t go right because of the breach in the Yggdrassil and the poison it allowed to enter into the world.
Caitlin and Hudson – other librarians with Ingrid. Caitlin and Matt are together for a little while. Hudson is gay.
Fryr – we only learn that he is the brother/son that is mentioned in the epilogue. He is Freya’s twin brother and Loki’s partner in crime (destroying the bridge). He tells Freya that they need to kill Killian at the very end of the epilogue.
Locations: East Hampton, NYC
Main Premise: The Beauchamp ladies, Joanna, Ingrid and Freya are witches but Norse goddesses too. Freya is engaged to Bran but she, on the night of her engagement party has sex with Killian (Bran’s brother). And he gets into her head. The sisters were long ago – for who knows why for most of the book – told that they can’t practice their magic. But, one day, each of them is faced with an event that leads them to use just a little bit of it. And they continue to do so. But Joanna is worried as she sees a bad omen. And things start to back fire. People start to disappear and die. And eventually, the ladies get blamed for it. The Gardiner mansion seems to be connected to things somehow too. As the mystery begins to unravel, we learn the true identities of the ladies and some of the other characters. And we learn the importance of the mansion.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: We saw Mimi Force – she needed to know how to bring someone back from the dead and she was aware of the need for a sacrifice. But who knows if this will be important for this series or for the Blue Bloods series. Apparently, it might not have been Loki who stole the power when the bridge collapsed. At least being told that is how the epilogue ends. Johanna and her husband aren’t so estranged anymore. Freya and Killian are engaged – but of course the warning in the epilogue about Killian really being the bad guy is, in my opinion, a lame attempt for the plot of the next book. The ladies are allowed to practice magic again – as long as people don’t charge them with criminal acts as a result of what they practice (one of the more convoluted permissions, if you ask me).
The first few chapters of Witches of East End, Melissa De La Cruz’s (attempt at a) first “adult” series seem promising. We meet three women who, we don’t know why, aren’t permitted to use their magic. They live in this town where something is clearly different on Long Island.
While we get a few adult scenes they were neither necessary nor well written. The author tried to squish way too much into this series. Not only do we get the close look at the adult scenes (which are disappointing comparatively to other authors in the PNR genre – even to authors like Nicole Peeler who sits in the SciFi genre with a tilt towards the adult) but we get a few scenes with Mimi force and the Blue Bloods from that series. Which if you haven’t read the Blue Bloods would be awfully confusing because the author clearly assumes the reader knows things about that universe (and I quite a few books ago so I was confused by what Mimi was asking and why). But, then, when we start to find out some of the details of the ladies’ story it gets even more confusing. We are told that they are goddesses. But witches. They need wands but are all powerful goddesses? The yggdrassil and Norse mythology is at play behind the story and all the happenings but the potions and workings of witches is how their powers manifest. It was confusing. I think she tried to find a unique take on magic and witches – which isn’t a bad idea – but it was too much. Just way too much. And too predictable. That Ingrid’s secret partner was her father could be seen almost instantly. That there would be more to Johanna and her husband’s split – same thing. Of course that Bran and Killian would be other than what who we thought was also so very apparent. To tell us that the women are stuck since the collapse of the bridge – but not explaining the bridge until 80% through the book was just frustrating. It wasn’t clever or motivating or enticing – it was just frustrating. I hate reading a book where my thoughts are “I need to finish just so I can figure out what the hell the author is talking about”. Clever and subtle foreshadowing is a different story – that works and makes me want to read more. Here, I just didn’t get that. The mansion itself holds so much promise and it becomes just collateral, it’s a shame. There could have been so much more to it.
I am also not sure that the Norse mythology that is used is twisted well enough to make the story feel like anything more than a boring – and failed – attempt at a genre that this author might not belong wading into. Throughout most of the book, I was totally confused. And by the end, I was totally relieved it was the end.