“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 very much 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, on paper, is not a book I would normally have chosen to read; I tend to stay away from the fantasy genre. However, I do like trying something new and in this case I am glad I did, pardon the pun but this was spookily good, in a way I reminded me of the television show from my childhood Rentaghost. There are times when I really need a good easy book, with humour, great characters and plot that is easy to understand, and Marilyn Messik ticked all those boxes for me.
The plot is narrated by Sandra/Serenissima. I loved her narration, she is sensible, stable, and quite normal considering her parents are famous magicians and very passionate and dramatic. It seems that she is the only character grounded in reality, in a cast full of eccentric and unusual characters who go for the over dramatic. The other characters are simply brilliant; some were loveable, some not but all brought humour and fun to the plot. Marilyn carefully has their very different lifestyle interwoven brilliantly with the mundane facts of life; they could be anyone’s family who run a hotel.
Marilyn Messik’s writing really draws you into the plot. The short chapters keep the story snappy, you always think one more chapter as its only about eight pages, and before long you realise you have read ten chapters. The storytelling itself is beautiful, the prose flows seamlessly along engaging the reader and makes you want to stay in her magical world. There is lots of humour in this book to keep a smile on your face as you read and also some cringe worthy moments that all combine to make this a very entertaining read.
Witch Dust is a captivating read, full of memorable characters and a brilliant rollercoaster of a plot. Its an easy read that will keep you entertained from start to finish; a truly magical book.