Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?
I did not know that Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series when I turned the first page. I often barley notice anything but the cover and blurb when sourcing my next read and only as the book became thinner and with too many holes to fill in those remaining pages did it dawn on me that I was now hooked by another series. Lucky for me by signing up to the newsletter I will get to read book two, Antebellum Awakening for free.
It is easy to see why Cross won an award for this novel, it opens strong with a relatable protagonist and unveils quickly her driving force, one that many would sympathise with, who of us wouldn’t do anything to save the ones we love? And though it would be easy to look at the blurb and scream “Not more witches!” you would be missing out. Vampire Academy meets Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Miss Mabel’s School For Girls is a refreshing take on witches with no brooms, funny noses or even shiny red shoes.
The story follows Bianca, a gifted powerful sixteen-year-old girl who wants nothing more than her family curse removed so that her grandmother can be without pain, her mother not progress to the same fate and her own life not to end at seventeen. The story sets the scene and takes you quickly to the action; only shortly after arriving does Bianca enter herself into the school competition to be Miss Mabel’s assistant, the witch that cursed her grandmother, and the only one who held the power to remove the curse and save her life.
Bianca makes two fast friends and it is these two that ground her and keep the reader reminded of both Bianca’s age and her potentially doomed fate. Without them it would be easy to forget that she is simply a sixteen-year-old trying to survive as her depth of character can often portray her as well beyond her years.
Witches, curses, magical battles and more, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls offers you a chance to be welcomed into a new world of witchcraft. Hopefully it is the magical world Cross has created that is elaborated on in book two, as though the characters held depth, the surroundings often fell away, not leaving a lasting impression. This may have been done deliberately, to focus on the characters themselves, however without a strong place to set the character’s feet, some readers might find the story floating by rather than gripping hold of them.
For me, this book is a strong 4 star read, and I am excited to continue Bianca’s story in book 2, Antebellum Awakening.
Rebecca is a writer, mother, crafter and cake maker. With three children and a full time job, many of the characters bouncing around in her head will just have to wait to have their stories told. You can find her tweeting here.