Hi everyone! Another day, another ARC review! This time it’s for Spells for Forgetting, the newest book from Adrienne Young, the author of Sky in the Deep and Fable! This is the first adult fantasy that she’s published, so I was very excited to get an early copy to read and review!
Spells for Forgetting
by Adrienne Young
Release date: September 27th 2022
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.
But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.
August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.
The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.
Spells for Forgetting follows Emery Blackwood, whose best friend Lily was murdered just after their high school graduation and her boyfriend August was accused of the murder. August moves away suddenly and without saying goodbye, leaving Emery to pick up the pieces and shoulder the blame for Lily’s death. After August’s mother dies, he returns to the island to bury her as her final wish, but no one on the island wants him back.
If there’s one thing that I adore about Adrienne Young’s books, it’s that the vibes are always immaculate! Spells for Forgetting takes place on an island in the Pacific Northwest in the fall, and it just really felt like I was there experiencing everything. The main draw of tourists to this island is the apple orchard, so throw in some apple picking and pumpkin patches and this is the PERFECT book to read in the fall, not to mention that every woman on the island is born with magic.
I absolutely could not put this book down, trying to solve the mystery of how Lily died and if August really committed the murder or not! There are so many characters keeping secrets, and what makes it even more tense is the fact that every now and then you get POV chapters from some of the other residents of the island that always hint to there being more to the story than meets the eye.
Even though this is classified as a fantasy, definitely don’t go into this one expecting big shows of magic. The magic is subtle, and at times really made me think of the movie for Practical Magic, especially the scenes where Sally is running her shop where there’s no magic really on full display, but under the surface.
I was totally loving this book and thought it would be a 5 star read until I got to the end. The way things ended was just really unsatisfying and there were so many things left unfinished. I just sat there kind of stunned that that was all we got. It was so anti-climatic, it ended right where there were some major events happening!
In order to fully explain why I feel this way, I’ll need to go into some spoilers for the book, so be warned, the rest of this review will contain spoilers!
Back when the island was first founded, the Morgan family (Lily’s family) owned the orchard. Then one of her ancestors married one of August’s ancestors, and the orchard changed hands to his family. August’s grandfather and father were both abusive people, so before the events of this book, the friends of August’s parents took it upon themselves to murder August’s dad. Then Lily’s grandmother saw an opportunity to poison August’s grandfather, because then if he had no heir the orchard would be passed to the town in his will and she would finally get back what was rightfully her family’s. However, Emery’s grandmother stepped in and stopped the murder before it happened. Lily then kind of takes up this crusade, and her grandmother wants her to marry August so they can take the orchard back, only August loves Emery. Lily then attempts a dark magic spell to kill Emery, only it backfires and kills her instead. Turns out, her grandmother put her up to it. Then some of the town council decides that the best way to hide their secrets is to MURDER August so he can’t take back the orchard (which he didn’t want anyway) but then Emery and her dad show up and they just leave with August. No one pays for the crimes they committed, and it just ends there! Right in the middle of this big moment where you don’t know what will happen or who will die, it just ends. Definitely was such a super anti-climatic ending.
Overall, I really loved most of this book except for how unsatisfying and anti-climatic the ending was. Definitely recommend as a read to get you in the mood for fall!