Always a Witch

Always a Witch

by Carolyn MacCullough

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Overview

Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother’s prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady’s maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547721972
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 08/07/2012
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 383,845
Product dimensions: 12.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: HL800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author


Carolyn MacCullough is the author of the young adult urban fantasy Once a Witch and three other YA novels. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has lived in Sicily, Scotland, and even the wilds of New Jersey before settling down in Brooklyn where she now lives with her husband and daughter. In addition to writing, she also teaches creative writing at NYU and The New School. Visit her website at www.carolynmaccullough.com.

Read an Excerpt

Prologue

I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might call
it Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carry
various Talents. Others might call it magic.
 Except for me.
 I alone in my family seemed to have no Talent. No
gift to shape me or to grant me a place in my family’s circle
around the altar to the four elements. All I had was the
prophecy that my grandmother made to my mother in the
first hour of my life. “Your daughter will be one of the most
powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon
for us all.”
 And then for reasons still unknown, my grandmother
spent the next seventeen years making sure I doubted that
prophecy at every turn. It took the return of an old family
enemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerous
love spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned three
things. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent to
harm me. Second, I can absorb a person’s Talent if they
attempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparently
have a choice ahead of me. A choice that will explain the
mysterious workings of my grandmother’s mind and why
she raised me in complete denial of my Talent. A choice
that’s vaguely hinted at in my family’s book. A choice that
will fulfill the prophecy my grandmother made all those
years ago.
 Or destroy my family forever.
 A choice that will be so terrible to contemplate that I’d
just rather not encounter it at all.

One

 “I look awful,” I say, staring at myself in front
of the dressing room mirror. The dress I have just struggled
into hangs like a shapeless tent down to my ankles.
Okay, actually, it clings to the top half of me a little too
tightly before suddenly dropping off into the aforementioned
shapeless tent. And it’s gray. Not silver, not opalescent
mist, as the tag promises. Gray. Concrete gray.
 My best friend, Agatha, scrunches her eyebrows
together over her bright green eyeglasses as she examines
me from all angles. “You do look awful. Perfectly, awful in
fact,” she finally confirms.
 I stick my tongue out at her. Agatha loves the word perfectly
just a little too much. “Yeah, well, that was probably
Rowena’s intention all along,” I mutter, struggling to find
the zipper. The overhead lights of the narrow boutique are
suddenly too hot and glaring.
 “Here,” Agatha says, and with swift fingers she yanks
the zipper down.
 With a sigh of relief, I slip back into my jeans and flowered
T-shirt, then steps into my fringed wedges that I found
in my favorite thrift store last week. I can’t resist them even
though my ankles start to throb after more than five minutes
of wearing them.
 “Why can’t you wear your rose dress?” Agatha asks
again as she arranges the hated gray tent back on its hanger.
Rowena had pronounced it “ethereal” when she had been
in the city a few weeks earlier and had left me three messages
on my cell to come to store “at once.” However, I never
picked up the phone. Caller ID is one of the best inventions
out there.
 “Because Rowena wants silver. And what Rowena
wants, Rowena gets.”
 “Bridezilla, huh?”
 “She gives new meaning to that term.” I refasten my
pink barrettes to the side of my head, useless, I know, since
they’ll be falling out in about three minutes. My curly hair
defies all devices invented to contain it.
 “Too bad,” Agatha says as we exit the dressing room.
“That rose dress is so pretty and you never get to wear it.”
 “Yeah,” I say, keeping my expression noncommittal,
while inwardly feeling the familiar pang. Oh, how I wish I
could tell Agatha that I already did wear it. I wore it when
Gabriel and I Traveled back to 1939 to a garden party in
my family’s mansion on Washington Square Park in New
York City. But if I told her that, I’d have to tell her who I
really am. What I really am. And the truth is, I don’t know
who or what I really am. For most of my life I thought I was
ordinary. The black sheep who got stuck in a very extraordinary
family. Not until I left my hometown of Hedgerow
and came to boarding school in Manhattan did I learn not
to mind that so much. For the first time in my life, I was
surrounded by people who had no idea that just enough
powdered mandrake root mixed with wine can make a
man want to kiss you. But too much can make that same
man want to kill you. It felt good to be among people who
thought I was just like them. It felt normal. I felt normal. I
felt like one of them.
 And now that feeling is gone. And I can’t decide if I’m
happy or sad about that.
 I gaze at Agatha for a moment and contemplate how
to tell her that I don’t really have a hippie crunchy granola
kind of family, as she likes to think. Instead, I have a family
of witches who actively practice their Talents but who
still manage to live relatively obscure lives. I have a mother
and grandmother who offer love spells, sleep spells, and
spells for luck, good fortune, and health to the town residents
who come knocking on the back door after night
falls when they can’t be seen by their neighbors. I have a
father who controls the weather. A sister who can compel
anyone to do anything just by mesmerizing them with the
sound of her voice. My grandmother's sister who can freeze
someone where he stands just by touching his forehead. A
boyfriend who can find anything and anyone that’s missing.
A whole bunch of other people I've been taught to call
"uncle" or "aunt" or "cousin" who are all Talented in one
way or another.
 If I told Agatha any of that, she’d look at me like I was
speaking in tongues. If I showed her that I could shoot fire
from my hands or freeze people into statues with one tap of
my finger, she’d think I was a freakshow.
 Or worse, she’d be afraid of me.
 Agatha’s one of the first and relatively few people who
made me feel normal in my life. Back when I thought I
didn’t have a Talent at all, when I first came to boarding
school in Manhattan, it was okay omitting certain things
about my family life. It was okay to blur the line between
the truth and a lie. But now that I’ve discovered I do have a
Talent after all, it feels harder.
 “So what are you going to do?” Agatha asks, breaking
into my headlong rush of thoughts.
 “What?” I blink at her until she flourishes the dress
through the air. “Oh. I’m not buying that thing!”
 The saleslady who has been hovering around the
dressing room apparently overhears me. She takes the
dress back from Agatha, stroking it like she’s afraid its feelings
just got hurt. Her long pink nose twitches once, reinforcing
my initial impression of a rabbit. “Well,” she says,
her tone frosted over. “Your sister did say that was the one
she wanted. She specifically asked me to put it aside for you
even though it’s really not our policy to do that here. Not
for more than twenty-four hours and it’s been three weeks
already.” The saleslady blinks a little as if suddenly wondering
why she did break store policy.
 I try not to roll my eyes. Apparently Rowena has won
over yet another heart. People seem to want to throw themselves
in front of speeding buses for Rowena. Part of her
Talent and all. Not that she ever would abuse that. Oh, no.
 “You know, she is the bride after all. It’s really her day,”
she says.
 “No kidding,” I reply sweetly. “She been reminding us
all of that for three months now.”
 “Still,” the saleslady says, fluttering the hem at me.
“I’m sure it looked lovely on you. Perhaps if you put on a
bit more rouge and—”
 The doorbell chimes softly and I look up to see Gabriel
stepping into the store. Okay, I know it’s lame, but my
heart still does this weird fluttery thing sometimes when I
see him. When the afternoon sunlight is hitting his cheekbones
the way it is right now. When he smiles at me—that
smile that makes me feel safe and not so safe at the same
time. When he gives me that look that spells out, I know
you, Tamsin Greene. I know exactly who you are.
 Thankfully, someone does.
 I smile back and manage to pull my gaze away long
enough to shake my head at the saleslady. “I’ll tell her it
didn’t fit me.”
 “Yeah, she was bursting out of it anyway,” Agatha adds
in helpfully. She makes a motion toward my chest.
 “Really?” Gabriel says, interest streaking through his
voice. “And that’s a bad thing?”
 Agatha bobs her head up and down. “You should have
seen how—”
 I clear my throat loudly. “Okay, thanks, everyone, but
I think—”
 Just then the door opens again and another woman
shoulders past Gabriel, a look of desperation on her face.
She swings a little black purse by a tassled cord and I notice
Gabriel take a step back to avoid getting hit in the jaw. “Do
you have the new Dolce Vita dress in purple? It has to be
purple. I’ve looked everywhere!”
 Instantly, the saleslady’s face assumes an expression of
sorrow. “No,” she whispers, her gaze wandering to a spot
above the woman’s shoulder as if eye contact is too much
to bear during this difficult moment. “I’m so sorry. We only
carry the Dolce Baci line.”
 “Oh!” the woman gives a muffled little shriek. “No one
has this dress and I have to have—”
 “Try Lily Lucile on Spring Street,” Gabriel says helpfully.
“They’re carrying it. The purple one that you want.”
 A small silence fills the room as all eyes land on
Gabriel. He turns his palms skyward, lifts his shoulders in
a shrug. “Don’t ask me how I know that,” he murmurs.
And then, “Ah, Tam, I’ll wait outside for you,” he says, and
ducks out.

Dusk is falling by the time Gabriel’s front tires hit all the
usual potholes of my family’s driveway. The house is blazing
with light and smoke tinges the air from tonight's bonfire,
which I know is already burning behind the house.
A small clump of my younger cousins chase each other
across the snow-dusted meadow into the darkening woods
beyond the house and fields.
 “How pastoral,” Gabriel says, grinning sideways
at me.
 “Yeah, until you look closer,” I say, grinning back and
leaning toward him. My seatbelt presses into my hip and I
fumble to undo it, then decide not to bother.
 Just then the air is split open. “Mother! I said I wanted
peonies, not posies. Posies are ridiculous in winter. Who
ever heard of a bride carrying posies anyway?”
 Gabriel turns his head. “Are those Rowena’s dulcet
tones that I hear?”
 I shift back into my seat just as my sister storms around
the side of the yard, heading toward the house. The porch
door opens and my mother steps out. She takes one look
at my sister’s face, then another look at my father, who is
trailing Rowena, a bunch of yellow flowers drooping in his
hand.
 “Mother,” Rowena yells again. “You need to explain
something very important to my father.” She flings one arm
back to identify our father as if our mother is unclear on just
who this man might be. “You need to tell him that I am getting
married in three days. Three days and . . . Mother!”
 I grin. The porch door remains closed, but mid-diatribe,
my mother has simply vanished. No doubt she’s
zoomed into another part of the house at her usual lightning
speed. Rowena skids to a stop, and for once her flaxen hair
has escaped from its perfect chignon. She whirls around
and looks at my father, who shrugs and begins slowly backing
up toward his greenhouse, probably wishing right about
now that he also possessed my mother’s Talent of moving
at warp speed. Then Rowena pivots again, her gaze narrowing
in on Gabriel’s car.
 “Tamsin,” she calls, her voice imperious as she starts
down the driveway.
 I sink down the length of my seat and begin picking at
a tuft of foam that protrudes from a rip in the seat.
 “Piece of advice?” Gabriel offers, his eyes tracking
Rowena’s progress toward us. “Don’t tell her you didn’t
buy the dress.”

As we step into the kitchen, carrying our bags, my mother,
who is standing at counter, looks up with a startled expression.
“Tamsin,” she says, her voice vibrating with relief.
“And Gabriel,” she adds, and offers us both a smile before
turning back to the heap of glittering silverware that’s piled
on the counter. “You’re here.” She examines two butter
knives, and then suddenly raises her head again like a hunted
animal to glance behind us. “Where’s Rowena?” she
whispers.
 “I froze her,” I say, setting down my backpack and
stretching my arms to the ceiling. “She makes a great statue
in the garden.”
 Gabriel snorts and ducks his head into the open refrigerator
as the knives slip from my mother’s grasp and crash
back on the pile of silverware. “You did?” she asks, a note
of hope throbbing through her voice. Clearing her throat,
she tries again. “I mean, you did what? You can’t just freeze
your sister.”
 I shrug. “It’ll wear off. In a week or two. Is there anything
to eat here?” I ask, and bump Gabriel with my hip as
I join him at the fridge. We spend a few seconds in a shoving
match as cold air billows in our faces.
 My mother makes a noise like a teakettle coming to
boil. “Tamsin—”
 “Relax, Mom. I’m kidding,” I say, stepping back, ending
the fridge war. “She’s chewing Aunt Linnie’s ear off.
Something about the tablecloths not being the right shade
of cream and how Aunt Linnie has to dye them again. Or
the will would come to an end…

 

Customer Reviews

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Always a Witch 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I think books involving magic might be one of my favorite types in the paranormal genre. This series is no exception. I really think the magic involved is subtle, which makes the storyline that much more intriguing. I think Tamsin is one of my favorite female witches. She's really had the best of both worlds (although I'm sure she would disagree). She grow up surrounded by people who can do extraordinary things, while she can't. She's tried to live a normal life in NYC, far enough away from her family. And even after she learns that she really does have magic that has been kept hidden from her, she still tries to appear normal. Much to the dismay of her family. When she goes home for her sister's wedding, she discovers that Alistair aims to bring down her family in the past. And she also knows that she's probably the only one who can save them. Tamsin chooses to time travel alone. But, she has no idea how to find her family or how to warn them about the dangers to come when she does. How do you go about telling something that a spell they have no idea they are going to cast needs to be stronger? Instead, she ends up an employee of the very family set to destroy her own. I found it interesting that they were much more diabolical than the stories told made them seem. They will stop at nothing to make sure their magic is as powerful as it can be. When Tamsin realizes what the Knight family intends to do, she realizes that only she has the power to fully stop them in the tracks. Blood magic is extremely powerful and will take something equally strong to bind it. Tamsin makes the ultimate sacrifice, which I greatly admired her for. I wondered if it was part of the reason her magic was kept hidden for so long. The story has a great pace, with a dramatic ending. I was really afraid something was going to happen to someone I really cared about in the story. Which I hope doesn't make it sound like the life that was lost was unimportant. But, I think he knew the sacrifice he was making at the time. I enjoyed how the characters interacted. I especially enjoyed how Tamsin has developed from a girl who that she had no powers, to someone is in fully control of what she can do. I don't know if there will be another one or not. But, if there is, I will read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My one and only complaint are all of the typos in the book. I have the Nook version on my eReader and the typos are driving me crazy. Overall, I love the story and really enjoyed this book.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This book started right where it left off and another adventure began. Only this time, Tamsin must make choice that can change the fate of her family's entire future. One thing I enjoyed about this book is the great plot line the reader gets to go on. Tamsin is thrown back in time, trying to save her family. I like watching Tamsin go back in time and play a different person. I loved watching a character time travel!! I guess it because I always dreamed of time traveling as well. Tamsin is really good at playing different roles in order to get where she needed to be. She also learned many new secrets about not only the Knight family, but her family as well. In this book, I felt as though Tamsin didn't grow up as well as she soon. She still lacked trust in Gabriel and always went off doing things on her own. Granted, it was her choice that is important, but there is nothing wrong with a little help. Overall, I felt like this book wasn't as good as the first one. They are still going through the same thing, fighting the Knight family, learning secrets, learning talents, etc. I was really hoping for more of new adventure instead of a repeated one. I wanted more twists, more secrets, and more love! Though the ending was tied up nicely, I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of adventure.
PirateVanRock More than 1 year ago
Whoa. Just wow, I really wasn't expecting that ending. It came flying up out of nowhere and hit me smack in the face. It was completely brilliant though. Since I adored everything about Once A Witch, it really is not surprise that I loved this one as well. Carolyn MacCullough took everything I loved about Once A Witch and managed to improve upon it when writing this book. It's witty, it's funny, it still has that great Tamsin/Gabriel relationship. The sarcasm is cut down a bit, but it is still great. This novel pics up not too far after the last one left off and it follows Tamsin in an adventure in the past. Her grandmother can no longer see a future for their family, so her only real option is to follow Alistair into the past and prevent him from warning the Knights. Deciding it is best to do this alone, she uses the Domani to travel back 1887 with no real plan beyond warning her ancestors and finding Alistair. She ends up taking a position as a lady's maid for the Knight family to watch for Alistair since she can't find anyone with knowledge of the Greene family. Complications arise, ensue, and are overcome. I really loved this novel. Love, love LOVE it. I loved Tamsin going off on her own (though it was stupid) and blindly charging off to save her family. I love that it doesn't turn out perfect when she arrives. Too many novels have the heroine arrive and it just all magically falls into place, like the first person she asks knows where to find her family and they believe her and fix it and then cue the happily ever after. No, Tamsin arrives and cannot find anyone that has even heard of her family. She wonders around cluelessly until a man offers her a job as a lady's maid for the Knight family. Then when she finally finds her family, they don't believe her. I truly loved that. Call me cruel, but I like seeing the heroine (or hero) struggle to get what they want/need. I was a bit sad when she left without Gabriel because I love him and I want as much of him in the novel as possible. He finally shows up in 1887 a little over halfway through the book, so those of you fearing (like me), that you won't get enough of him here, let me put your mind at easy. You get plenty of the signature Tamsin/Gabriel banter. I have to give it to Carolyn for catching me off guard because I didn't see that ending coming at all. I don't know exactly what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't that. Even though I didn't expect it, it was perfect. It seamlessly tied the whole story together. It makes it completely understandable why Grandma forced everyone to hide Tam's powers from her. It really left me speechless. I also loved that this series is just a 2 part set. It is very refreshing to see a short series in a world where it seems like every story is continued to like 15 volumes. Oh and for those of you wondering, this series had no love triangle. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a captivating story an this sequel to once a witch pulls you in just as thoroughly as the first. Ends with a conclusion that makes you wish for more and more
thereaderbee More than 1 year ago
Always a Witch is the second book in the ¿Witch¿ series by Carolyn MacCullough. I absolutely loved reading Once a Witch, and couldn¿t wait to get my hands on Always a Witch. This series is so very awesome; it¿s definitely one of my favorite series. In the book, we follow Tamsin and her hunky boyfriend, Gabriel, as they travel back in time to save the Greene Family from destruction at the hands of the evil Knight Family. Tamsin is just an awesome character. I love her. She's very courageous, and will do whatever it takes to make sure her family is safe. I love her family as well, they are so great. Gabriel is very swoon-worthy. He is totally devoted to Tam, and you can tell her cares for her deeply. I missed him a lot in the first half of the book though. Even the villains are well thought out and very interesting. This book is very fast paced, and the storyline is engrossing. Mrs. MacCullough's writing definitely kept me interested in the story, and I had a really hard time putting the book down. Overall, this book was great. This series is great! I love the characters, I love the storyline. I love it all, and I can¿t wait to read the next book in the series.
hrose2931 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*****This review may contain spoilers if you didn't do what I told you to previously and read Once a Witch. Continue at your own risk.**** Now, whereas I did not like Tamsin in Once a Witch, I'm loving her in this one. Not only is she looking out for herself, her family and their fate, but she's looking out for the servants in the Knight household and the poor urchins they experiment on. While Once a Witch went back and forth between light and dark, Always a Witch reads like a horror story. The Knight family, is bent on practicing the darker magics. And they don't care about spilling human blood to do it. Humans are considered beneath them and therefore if they kill one or two dozen for the cause, so be it. What do they want? Immortality.Tamsin travels back in time without Gabriel, time affects those without her powers and he could die if he gets trapped back in time. She has to beat Alistair Knight back in time before he can warn the Knights of what the Greene family did to their powers. Now here, she did go off a little half assed if you ask me because once again, she didn't know where the Greene family lived before she went back in time. That would have been my first place to visit. And I would have known the names of my ancestors so they would believe me. Had some piece of information or heirloom so they could identify me. But there's a big reason she can't ask where they lived or find out names and again in a round about way it has to do with Alistair Knight. So she basically hits the late 1800's blind. Dressed in a working girl's uniform and that's about it. She was smart enough to look in the attic at home for a uniform or dress so she'd look the part and found some money as well.Tamsin of course, snoops and gets caught, but now with her awesome powers, she thinks she's invincible. Not! Once again, Gabriel comes to her rescue. And her great, great grandfather.There are lots of mysteries and betrayals in this book and just when you think you've got it figured out, the loophole closes and there's no way out. Gabriel is just as admirable in this book as in the last one and still, my favorite character, but as I said, Tamsin is a lot less whiney and more take charge in this one.At the end, as things turn around, Tamsin suffers a terrible loss and becomes the ultimate heroine to me! She totally makes up for her mistakes in Once a Witch, and who knows, maybe it was fated for this to all happen this way anyway.I really enjoyed this novel. I love time travel novels and most of this one takes place in the past. There is a lot of sleuthing and sneaking around, second guessing, a lot of surprising defeats and some very realistic hopelessness. As to whether there is a happy ending, you'll need to read it, but I happily and highly recommend this book and the series.
AnnaKay21 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as awesome as the first one, but I still really liked it a lot. The time travel really kicked the action up a notch in this.
Angelscryhavoc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book Title: Always a WitchAuthor: Carolyn MacculloughPublished By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (August 1, 2011)Genre: SupernaturalRecommended Age: 13+Reviewed By: Emily Tuley / AngelsCryHavocBlog Reviewed For: Great Minds Think Aloud Literary CommunityRating: 4 RavensThe follow up book to always a witch, which I did not have the pleasure of reading before I read this book. How soon after I did regret that as this book even as standing on it¿s own pulled me in and had me devouring each page and chapter with the insatiable urge to see what was going to happen what was next and just how it would all play out. I was amazed at the ending thrilled with the characters and even found myself falling in love with the world that had been created by Carolyn Maccullough. It¿s definitely a book to pick up and read for yourself if you want a good story with a really good ending one where you feel that your heroine really did give it her all. The story is of Tamsin Greene shortly after she had found out that she was a witch after all like the rest of her family. For most of her life she had grown up thinking she had no powers when she was actually the strongest of her family through their whole blood line and would be the one that eventually saved them from the horrors of their past and they all lost one of the things they valued the most besides family. You get to travel through time once again with Tamsin as she goes back to the roots when her family have to stop another coven of witches within their town from experimenting on humans and eventually others of their time. It¿s a sacrifice from Tamsin and a young witch from the other families line that ends up saving them all from a fate worse than death or well fates worse than death even if some of them don¿t see it the way that Tamsin and the other you witch does. It¿s an intriguing tale one that will keep you on the edge of your seat with a lot of action and even some suspense pick this book up today and check it out I¿m sure I¿m not the only one who will love it.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book started right where it left off and another adventure began. Only this time, Tamsin must make choice that can change the fate of her family's entire future.One thing I enjoyed about this book is the great plot line the reader gets to go on. Tamsin is thrown back in time, trying to save her family. I like watching Tamsin go back in time and play a different person. I loved watching a character time travel!! I guess it because I always dreamed of time traveling as well. Tamsin is really good at playing different roles in order to get where she needed to be. She also learned many new secrets about not only the Knight family, but her family as well.In this book, I felt as though Tamsin didn't grow up as well as she soon. She still lacked trust in Gabriel and always went off doing things on her own. Granted, it was her choice that is important, but there is nothing wrong with a little help.Overall, I felt like this book wasn't as good as the first one. They are still going through the same thing, fighting the Knight family, learning secrets, learning talents, etc. I was really hoping for more of new adventure instead of a repeated one. I wanted more twists, more secrets, and more love! Though the ending was tied up nicely, I am somewhat disappointed in the lack of adventure.
millett23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is what it is, it starts right where it left off with the first one. I enjoyed this book.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tamsin Greene who was raised in a family with Talents but without any of her own has discovered that she has Talents. Now she must travel back in time to stop the evil Knight family from destroying her family in the past. Most of the story takes place in New York City in 1887 when Tamsin gets a job as a maid in the Knight house.
Kristi_TheBookFaery on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After Tamsin Greene¿s horrific encounter with the wicked Alistair Knight in Once a Witch, Tamsin is just starting to get comfortable with her new found Talent and finding her place within her extraordinarily Talented (magical) family. Tamsin¿s happy and relieved to have found her Talent yet struggling with her grandmother¿s prediction that she will soon make a decision, a decision so vital it will affect her entire family¿s future. Life has finally settled down a bit for Tamsin; her sister, the lovely Rowena is getting married, she has Gabriel, the boyfriend of her dreams and she¿s back at school in her dorm room with BFF, Agatha. She deserves a little peace, right? Well-- not quite yet¿there¿s a bit of a problem with the future. It seems that Alistair did indeed travel back to the Victorian era; warning his ancestors of the Greene¿s intent to compile the Knights power into the Domani thus disabling them from causing harm and doing `blood magic¿. It¿s up to Tamsin to travel back in time and stop Alistair from warning the Knights of the Greene¿s intent.When Tamsin travels back to Victorian era New York ahead of Alistair she finds a position in the Knight household as a lady¿s maid for Jessica Knight; daughter of the cruel calculating matriarch La Spider and sister to charming Liam Knight. The Knights are powerful witches and along with their extended family, they use their Talents for increasing wealth and personal gain at any cost. Add Alistair to the picture and things start to get a little hairy. Tamsin finds herself caught between her wary ancestors and the vicious Knights in a struggle to save her family--past, present and future, all while trying to protect the innocent¿s that are caught in between. It¿s through other¿s love and sacrifice that she learns how every move she makes and every word she utters impacts the fateful decision her grandmother predicted. She can only hope and pray that she doesn't lose her future along with that of her friends and family along the way. The sage advice of 'Once a Witch, Always a Witch' could just save all that she holds dear.Carolyn MacCullough spins a spellbinding story of magic, time-travel, suspense and adventure. The story flows fluidly from chapter to chapter and the characters are richly defined. The history of Victorian era New York is fascinating and visually descriptive.
hobbitsies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am such a huge fan of witches. I know I say this all the time in reviews, but seriously, they blow vampires and werewolves and all of that other stuff out of the water. Especially when they¿re written in an original and interesting way. Just like in Once a Witch, and this book, Always a Witch.Once a Witch was a bit of a roller coaster, which I loved. There was action, magic, adventure, time-travel, romance ¿ it had everything. So I¿m very pleased that we got all that from Always a Witch, and even more. I love historical fiction, and most of Always a Witch takes place in the late 1800s, so that¿s was definitely an added bonus while reading.A lot of books do a ton of backstory at the beginning of the second book, and Always a Witch didn¿t do that. There was a short prologue thing and then it sort of just jumped right into the story, which I loved.I love the originality in this series. It¿s definitely witchcraft, but Carolyn MacCullough doesn¿t call it witchcraft per say ¿ it¿s Talents. Each member of the family has a specific talent they can do (mind control, freezing, shooting fire, etc), but it¿s written way more eloquently than that.Overall, I loved Always a Witch. I thought it was a great follow-up to Once a Witch, with a very bittersweet ending. I don¿t know if Always a Witch is the final book in the series, but if so, it ends just as it needs to, although I would absolutely read more from this world. I definitely recommend checking out this series if you haven¿t already ¿ it¿s a lot of fun with unexpected twists.
absconditas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful, and beautifully crafted.In this installment of the Witch series, we learn more about the mysterious Knight family and the Greenes.I loved Tamsin in the first installment, but I absolutely fell in love with her spunk, dry wit, and bravery in this book. We see her going through a lot of different things here, and we watch her grow. She's moving away for college, she has a boyfriend and she finally knows what her talent is, and how to harness that power. I think what I liked most was that she wasn't simpering and pathetic. The story wasn't based entirely around some kind of forbidden love where the female protagonist turns into a slobbering dog, pretty much. The face that she had a boyfriend wasn't completely rubbed into your face the entire time.I was surprised and pleased at the imagery described in the past and the traveling. I do wish there had been more character building in Jessica Knight's character. Why was she going against the way she was raised? What's her talent? She seemed to be on the "good" side of things, so I would have liked to see a bit more building of her character in this book.I wouldn't read this installment without having read the first one beforehand. You'd be able to understand it, but not with as much clarity as if you had read the first one. All in all, I loved it. I hope that Ms. MacCullough writes another installment.
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
`Always a Witch¿ is the sequel to `Once a Witch¿, but despite having not read that book I had no problem understanding what this volume was about. MacCullough weaves the backstory deftly into this story in small bits and pieces, never hitting the reader over the head with it. `Always a Witch¿ stands on its own just fine. This YA novel features Tamsin Greene, a teenage witch who has just recently gained her powers after a lifetime of being the only `Talentless¿ one in the family. There is a new threat from the rival Knight clan to her family, one that can only be dealt with by traveling back in time- again. She undertakes this task alone, to spare anyone else the bad effects of time travel. This time, she goes to the Victorian era and becomes a ladies maid in the Knight household. Along with trying to head off the problem facing her family, Tamsin discovers something else wicked going on in the Knight household. While the Greene family of witches has no use for humans, they chose to simply ignore them. The Knights, on the other hand, see humans as playthings and lab rats. Can she deal with both of these problems by herself? Will she survive the terrifying and heartbreaking decision she must make? There is plenty happening in this book; after a kind of slow start that revolves around Tamsin¿s sister¿s impending wedding, there is almost no breathing room. Even though the book clocks in at almost 300 pages, it seems rushed. This is probably deliberate, but it doesn¿t leave enough time for the characters to get fully fleshed out. We see Tamsin better than anyone else, of course, but even she doesn¿t seem quite real and solid. The other characters- Tamsin¿s boyfriend, the Knights, her grandmother- are action figures without a great deal behind the action. I think this book would be well liked by very early teens, but older people may well be disappointed by this. I enjoyed it, but felt it could have been much better.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Always A Witch was a pleasant surprise, considering how lukewarm my reaction had been for Once A Witch. Carolyn MacCullough definitely packed Book the Second with more action, more suspense, more oomph that I was literally biting my nails as Tamsin races through time to save her family from destruction.The Greene family didn't make much of an appearance this time around. Rather, their rival - the Knight family - gets showcased as Tamsin infiltrates their household in hopes of preventing Alistair from changing the past to affect the future. Seeing the infamous Knight family in action - especially on the cusp of their powers - was truly a delight to see, even though Liam's goals were pretty dastardly.I'm not sure if there will be any continuation to this series (I'm not sure what cute, catchy title Book the Third could even be!), given the future-changing ending that Ms. MacCullough leaves us with. This leaves me with regret since Tamsin, Gabriel, and family have earned their places in my heart - but really, what an satisfying conclusion that Always A Witch gives us!On a sidenote, what a GORGEOUS cover! I'm not sure how it falls into the story since there is no major gown-wearing story arc, but I still love the cover model's wistful pose!
resugo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. More than Once a Witch, the first in the dualogy, though I did enjoy that one also. I really liked the world of contemporary magic MacCullough created. The Talents that the Greene and Knight families possess were awesome. The way the magic worked and intereacted, also cool. Tamsin's abilities I especially liked. The story had a good pace. An interesting plot. Great characters. I loved Tam and Gabriel's relationship. (Though I wouldn't have minded a few more kisses). And Tam's relationship with her family, though imperfect, was very relatable. The Greene's as a family, though a good family, are not The Good Family. They're concerned with themselves, not necessarily with people outside of their circle. Which I liked because they weren't painted as saints. I mean, who is? Though I must say that it was serendipitous that Tamsin just happened to be where she needed to be to overhear important conversations. It didn't happen just once, but three times. And she never got caught easedropping. Which worked well for the plot and kept it moving. I just found it implausible, but it didn't really bother me, just made me smile. I did guess the decision that Tam would have to make, though it happened in such a different way than I expected. It was rather cool. But also sad. The book ended abruptly. Tamsin and Gabriel return home and all we get are two pages with just a glimpse of how things are, then it's over. I was disappointed, I wanted more of a conclusion. I wanted to see how things had changed.
sch_94 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an awesome sequel! I really wish this series didn`t have to end! :( But at least I got to read and review it for you guys, right? :)My Summary: The book starts off with Tam and Rowena in another arguement (go figure!). Tam hasn`t purchased her maid of honour`s dress for Rowena`s wedding yet, which makes Rowena kinda angry (understatement). They go back to the house, were a few days later, Rowena asks one of the many Greene cousins to use her Talent and turn Tam`s dress the correct colour for the wedding, which is in 3 days. Their cousin refuses, telling them that she doesn`t want to use her Talent around Tamsin in case Tam tries to take it. Tam (understandibly) is kinda hurt by this and storms up to her room.A few hours later, Tamsin hears voices coming from the library. Puzzled, she leaves her room to check it out. What she finds, though, confuses her more than ever: her drunk uncle Morris is questioning Old Aunt Beatrice about a certain night in 1939 - the night Tam and Gabe Travelled back in time.When Tam confronts her uncle, something crazy happens - a mysterious stranger steps out of her uncle`s body, kisses her full on the mouth, then disappears - but not before delivering a cryptic message concerning Gabe and the future of the entire Greene family.Tam realizes she only has one choice - to Travel back in time and eradicate the threat of the Knight family once and for all. But once she`s there, Tam realizes exactly what kind of sacrifice shes going to gave to make to keep her family safe.`I don`t know if I`ve ever mentioned this, but I LOVE historical fiction, and mixing it with a paranormal plot? You had me at hello, basically. And you know what else?! The fact that this book is the sequel to Once a Witch just made it 234094732709438 times better.ANYWAYS. A few things I really enjoyed about this book: Tam`s voice remains as snarky and hilarious as it was in the original, and Gabriel (although we don`t see as much of him in this book) is still just as awesome as he was before. I also really liked the fact that Tam decided she had to go alone in order to protect everyone - and the fact that she actually empathized with someone who she should`ve seen as `the enemy`. It really added some humanity and relate-ability to her character. I reaaaally liked the secondary characters in this one - they added an extra layer to the story. My faves were probably Cook and Jessica, although Thom was really great too!Final Thoughts: This was one of my favourite series of the past two years. I definitely recommend both Once a Witch and Always a Witch to anyone who`s been in a little bit of a paranormal rut lately. Check them out! If you don`t like them, you have my permission to trash me in your review ;D
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Always a Witch is the fast-paced sequel to author Carolyn MacCullough's 2009 debut, Once A Witch. After enjoying virtually everything about Always a Witch, I was eager to get my hands on the sequel. However, if you haven't read Once a Witch, I highly recommend picking it up before launching into Always a Witch, because you'll be more than lost if you haven't read it.Always a Witch picks up right after the gripping, edge-of-your-seat conclusion of Once a Witch. Now that Tamsin Greene, daughter of a powerful witch family has discovered that she actually has a magical Talent (and not just any Talent, but one of the most powerful and crucial Talents in her family's history), she's begun to realize her importance. Not only does she have to deal with a chilling prophecy from her grandmother, but when Tamsin discovers that her family's nemesis, Alistair Knight has gone back in time to destroy her family, she's got to do some more time jumping (you'd think this would cause more of a dilemma to so much time travel) to Victorian-era New York, where she goes undercover as a maid in the Knight family mansion.As fast-paced and magical as Once a Witch, Always a Witch is a fantastic, fabulous sequel that's as riveting and enjoyable as the first. Tamsin is a wonderful, realistic protagonist that readers will want to cheer for. The historical aspect of the novel is also well done, as MacCullough paints a lush portrait of Victorian-era New York and seamlessly weaves together history, magic and mystery in a well-paced tale that's a delightful read.For me, the only tiny issue with this book is that is feels much the same as the first book (especially with the time jumping), but since it's such a great read, I can't complain too much. Other than that, Always a Witch does feel a little short. It's just under 300 pages (which seems a tiny bit slim for the price) and goes by so quickly it also feels like a blur. Still, optimal for teen readers and fans of YA fantasy/paranormal fiction.
SimplyGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCulloughThis is the second book in this series and Tamsin and her honey Gabriel are back with some time traveling action and adventure, wrapped up with a lilttle witchy romance to get us excited for more! I really enjoyed this book. I liked this one better than the first. Tamsin isn't as annoying to me in this book. She seems to have gained some confidence and probably being with Gabriel has helped some too.I really liked the Greene family and the strong character of Tamsin's grandmother. Although, I would have loved to slap Tamsin's sister a couple of times. Good lord is she annoying!The time traveling is very exciting and I loved how the story develops. I enjoyed the fact that Tamsin becomes employed by the King family and we get to see the enemy up close. Very clever.I love how the story gets wrapped up in the end, and a lot of things from the first book now make sense. I can't say anymore without ruining the ending, so I will just leave it at that!I definitely recommend this one and I give it 3 1/2 STARS.I got this ARC from NetGalley. Thanks!
Reader_Barbara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tamsin is back and this story picks up where the last one left off. She understands her Talent & has finally received the family initiation rites. Everything seems fine ... until a someone from the past makes an impossible trip into Tamsin's family home, setting off a series of events that requires Tamsin to make another trip into the past to save the future of her family.MacCullough provides us with another wonderful adventure with Tamsin Greene. She sets course on an adventure that will fulfill her role as the beacon of her family, a role her grandmother predicted at her birth. Tamsin is a little more mature in this installment, although her interaction with Rowena still shows some adolescent sibling rivalry. In this story, she time travels back to before the Domani is created and ends up working for the Knight family. We learn more background about both the Knights and the Greenes, and MacCullough does a good job of not making the either family 'good' or 'evil' in its entirety. Tamsin must find a way to stop Alistair from warning the Knights about the Domani before it can be created. She is placed in a position where she must make a difficult decision in order to save the future of her family. The story is very entertaining and well-written. The characters are flawed and enjoyable. This story, however, seems to wrap things up neatly at the end. It would be nice to read more about Tamsin in the future.
STACYatUFI on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book continues with Tamsin realizing that the King Family is still trying to make trouble for the Greene's. She has to travel back in time to try and stop them. I enjoyed reading about the sacrifice's that had to be made and the solution that Tamsin has to come up with. I never expected the ending but it put the book in the right place. The only thing I would have liked better is seeing more of Tamsin and Gabriel at the end of the book and to find out what happens with them.
wenj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second novel in MacCullough¿s Witch series featuring Tamsin Greene and is a fun book filled with action, suspense and some extremely lovable characters. While this novel doesn¿t add a lot of depth the magical world it creates, we are instead drawn to the characters. From the first moment I was drawn to Tamsin, a witch who has gone most of her life not knowing that she had a Talent or magical power. She is feisty with a sarcastic wit, often speaking before thinking, but she is also extremely giving. It is obvious that she loves her family and would do anything to protect those she cares for as seen by putting herself in danger repeatedly in the family¿s past to preserve their futures. Her family is also quite endearing. They are eccentric and add a nice levity to the first few chapters of the novel showing us why Tamsin would be willing to protect them so vigorously. We are also introduced to Gabriel, her boyfriend, who is able to Travel in time and locate whatever he is looking for. He captures the heart early on in his devotedness towards Tamsin and his desire to be by her side through whatever peril she finds herself in. Alternately, the villains of the story are no less well written or interesting. Instead we are shown behind otherwise closed doors seeing the family as they are in their varying degrees of wickedness. We see the charm of Liam, the love of Jessica and the pure loathsomeness of La Spider. We also see the sacrifices they make towards one another, most evident in Alistair giving up his talents to further Liam¿s experiments into blood magic. This is to allow his family to overtake the Greenes before they can bind their magic. The story itself is well written mixing past and present effortlessly. While not overtaking the novel with descriptions on the New York of another century we are still made to feel the era through the language and settings of the novel. Also the pace of the story has a nice cadence integrating action and suspense as well as drama keeping the reader wanting to know more and pushing through the chapters. I was extremely impressed at the flow of the novel as well. Often first person point of views become hindered in hashing all the little details, but this author did a marvelous job at giving just enough of the characters thoughts and emotions without bogging down the story in pointless details. While the characterization and plot of the novel were wonderful, I was most captured by the themes running throughout of family. All the families, good and evil, are close knit and work together to achieve their goals regardless of the morality of them. For me, this was the most captivating piece of the story, the sacrifices that we make for those we love and I feel this it is a wonderful theme for teens and readers of all ages. We often take our families for granted too often, especially in our youth while trying to find our independence. But, the main character Tamsin is able to create her identity despite feeling like an outcast within her family and yet still be a close member of it loving and being loved in return. Overall, for me this was a nice story that kept me interested. However, if you haven¿t read the first novel in the series as I hadn¿t, it is a little tough sorting out past events and getting a grip on the aspect of Travel and the feud between the two families. I highly suggest reading the first novel Once a Witch to make reading this one a bit simpler. If it is anything like this one, you won¿t be disappointed.
AboutToRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Always a Witch is the sequel to Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. If you¿re unfamiliar with the first novel, think Harry Potter¿only opposite. Instead of finding out that you have magical powers after growing up with a bunch of ordinary people, Tamsin has grown up in a family of extraordinary witches and she has no magical powers to speak of (or so she thought).Since Tamsin has discovered that she does in fact have powers¿and put the future of her family at risk with her time travel misadventures, Tamsin must find a way to fix it all. Tamsin travels back to old New York and attempts to correct the mistakes she made in Once a Witch.Always a Witch was a really fast read, and while it was light on the romance that made the first book special, the time travel and adventure more than make up for the sparse appearances of Gabriel. While the story did have a strong conclusion, I¿m hoping that another novel is in the works. I¿m not quite ready to leave Tamsin¿s world behind and I really want to read more of Carolyn MacCullough¿s beautiful writing.