Author: Natalie Whipple
Josephine Hemlock lives under the guise of being a normal girl, but in reality she comes from a long line of witches. After losing her mother to the Curse years ago, Jo has only her grandma to call family. When a mysterious stranger comes looking for her mother, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew about her mother’s past. When the dark force that took her mother threatens to take everything away from her, Jo realizes she will need the help of her friends in order to survive.
“As I draw the magic from myself, the ingredients swirl as much in my head as they do in the cauldron. This spell is strong–stronger than any spell we’ve worked on in a long time. My fingers tingle with the current. The power is intoxicating.”
Natalie Whipple’s House of Ivy and Sorrow wasn’t as enjoyable as I would have liked it to have been. There are many elements to this book that I did like: the matriarchy of witches, the importance placed on family, and how Jo relied on her friends rather than on the love interest. I also liked how Jo was able to come into her own. With the death of her mother, Jo is destined to become the leader of the Hemlocks once her grandmother passes. Though she is young, Jo does realize that she will be called to lead and with this comes certain responsibilities. The real strength of this book was Jo’s relationship with her best friends Kat and Gwen, who both proved to be forces to be reckoned with.
Despite this, I thought the story and characters needed to be a little more flushed-out. Jo’s love interest Winn is little more than the most popular and best looking boy in school. Apart from these qualities, I’m not sure why Jo liked him so much. I actually found the enigmatic Levi to be a much more interesting character. Levi added a new wrinkle to the story and if he had been introduced sooner, he could have been presented as a complimentary counterpart to Jo. I also thought the book could have delved more into the history of witches, but aside from a few diary entries we aren’t given as much detail as I would have liked.
House of Ivy and Sorrow was sweet at times, but lacked the kind of depth I look for in a story.