3 out of 4 stars
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A Lock of Hair by A. Rose Pritchett focuses on 18-year-old Mildred, a practical witch living in Boston in 1846. A devout Catholic, Mildred keeps her practice a relative secret, only casting spells for those she trusts with the best intentions. Her world is thrown awry when a stranger, Trinity, comes to her requesting that Mildred curse a well-known Irish landlord and his family. Mildred refuses due to being a “good witch” and also having a crush on one of the landlord’s sons, Theodore. Her concern for the threat leads her to take action to protect Theodore's family. What can she do without revealing her secret and facing persecution for her witchcraft though?
I enjoyed this YA historical romance. I liked the intricacies the author put into the story. She described in detail how Mildred felt about being a witch within the confines of her Catholic society and how torn she was when hiding her beliefs. I think the characterization of the protagonist was very well done. The description of how she went about doing protective spells and charms was believable and showed the normalcy of Mildred’s practice. The author also did a great job with the setting and depictions of the daily lives of both Mildred’s family and those of her Irish friends.
Unfortunately, since it was in the first-person point of view, other characters weren’t fleshed out as well as I would’ve liked and only Mildred was a dynamic character. Others seemed to stay quite static in their thoughts and beliefs, particularly Millie’s father and her best friend, Mary. In addition to the lack of characterization, the ending was rushed. Some of the biggest scenes were glossed over and it made the ending seem both predictable and unrealistic at the same time.
I would recommend this book to a young adult who is interested in historical fiction with some romance. I wouldn’t recommend it to the very religious reader who might have a problem with a religious girl also practicing witchcraft. It also paints some fictional religious individuals in a bad light. It heavily focuses on racism against the Irish but also mentions the racism facing an escaped slave friend of Mildred. None of these were a deal-breaker for me, but it could bother some individuals.
The book appeared to be well-edited with only one minor error. While I enjoyed the book, the rushed ending and lack of characterization was just too much of an issue for me to give it four stars. I give A Lock of Hair by A. Rose Pritchett 3 out of 4 stars.
A Lock of Hair
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