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Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: The Memory Witch

Ten years ago, Quinn Jacobs’ mother made a bargain with a local witch—steal away Quinn’s memories from the first eight years of her life and in return, Quinn would spend a year in servitude to the witch.

On Quinn’s eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to leave her home and friends behind. For the next year, she’ll live at the Chadwick House, learning everything she needs to know about being a spellcaster. As her powers grow, Quinn begins to unravel the secrets of the past and the reason her mother was so desperate to conceal the horrifying truth.


    Heather Topham Wood sets up The Memory Witch perfectly. Quinn is pretty much a normal teenage girl being raised by her mother after the death of her father. The only thing that really makes Quinn different is the fact that she can’t remember the first 8 years of her life. And then she meets Stella. The witch who wiped her memory at her mothers request. If you read the classic fairy tales you know that magic ALWAYS comes at a price. Stella’s price for wiping Quinn’s memory is that when she turns 18 Quinn will live and study witch craft alongside Stella for one year.
    I really loved that Wood went back to the traditional fairy tale construct. There are not many tales nowadays that remind readers that everything has a price, especially magic. Usually we see the fairy godmother save Cinderella and send her to the ball without any thought to the debt that would come along with such an arrangement. The Memory Witch drives the point home that if you want magic you must be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to use it. The Memory Witch sometimes reminds me of the traditional Rapunzel story, only updated and with thought to the witches side of the story. Quinn may have been devastated when Stella arrived to take her away for a year but as Quinn matures and learns more of what Stella has to teach her she grows into a stronger independent woman. Stella helps Quinn become more than she was and her separation from the world she knew helps her realize that the life she had wasn’t really as shiny and happy as she thought it was. Stella gives Quinn a great gift in teaching her the craft of Magic. She may seem like the evil witch at the beginning but Wood deftly shows that even witches have compassion and sometimes they make great personal sacrifices for others.

    I really appreciated that Witches were portrayed in a positive light, even when magic may have been frowned upon by other characters in the novel. Wood shows that witches are just like anyone else, only with a little something special up their sleeve. None of the normal witch stereotypes appear in The Memory Witch. (Yay! Down with Stereotypes!)

    There is a lot of preoccupation with sex in The Memory Witch. Although it isn’t graphic I would warn off readers who are uncomfortable by such subjects. Wood also deals with the subject of sexual abuse as well. I found it slightly triggering and want to warn those sensitive to the subject.This is one of the few things I disliked about The Memory Witch though Wood handled the subject carefully and with respect.

    Overall this was a great immersive read. The characters jump off the page and Quinn’s world is so well written you feel as if you are right there with her. When I reached the last page I was so disappointed that there was no more story and I would have to wait for the next book in the series. Lovers of modern day fairy tales and witches should definetly pick up this novel. You wont be disappointed.



Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl .

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today,, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

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