Here’s the full review, from the January 1 issue:
In this enchanting debut novel, Schickel tells a tale of family and community with a magical twist. Allison Darling spent most of her childhood in foster care and still has a difficult time fitting in as a wife and mother. The idyllic seaside town where her family lives is run by a clique of seemingly perfect women led by Astrid, the founder of Glamour, an all-natural soap and cosmetics company. Most of Monrovia’s residents sell or use the products, and Astrid and the Glamour Girls control the town’s school, businesses, and even its city council. When Allison begins to make inroads with the group, she discovers the secret to their influence: witchcraft.
At the same time, Allison’s estranged mother dies in a mental institution, and by seeking out her remaining relatives, Allison learns that she’s descended from a long line of real witches. And she finds that beyond superficial spells for beauty, Astrid is practicing dark magic. What ensues is a classic, page-turning battle between good and evil set among the trappings of suburban motherhood. By transforming a clique into a coven, Schickel makes a clever statement about the illusion of popularity and the power of trusting yourself.
Housewitch will be published on February 17.