Title: Black Candle Women
Author: Diane Marie Brown
Pub. Date: February 28th. 2023
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Graydon House Books
GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON | LIBROFM
☆☆ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review☆☆
This multi-generational story follows the Montrose women who’ve all been cursed with having anyone they fall in love with die. Augusta, Victoria, and Willow live in a Californian bungalow where they keep a low profile, their roots however are in New Orleans. Whether they believe in the curse or not, they all try to play safe by not falling in love. My favorite of the Montrose women is Willow who secretly practices Hoodoo with tinctures and spells, she gets joy from helping others who have fallen on hard times or just need a bit of luck. Victoria is the older sister, she runs her therapy practice from home and takes the curse very seriously. Perhaps the MOST cautious of them all, Victoria pays her respect to the Oya’s to stay in their favor and ensure the women and her daughter Nickie do not fall in love. Nickie is sixteen, she doesn’t understand why her mom is so strict and even less, why they can’t have anyone over. She’s also falling HARD for a guy in her photography class which leads to her digging for answers. Why are the Montrose women scared to fall in love? the answers are rooted in the Crescent City and their Matron, great grandmother Augusta.
Augusta’s story is told in dual timelines with flashbacks of her youth in New Orleans falling in love and apprenticing for a local Hoodoo practitioner. In present time, Augusta has lost the ability to speak after having had a stroke. She’s the bearer of many truths and secrets and her granddaughter Nickie is set on uncovering them. A generational curse, stories of love lost and NOLA vibes…if you love a good character driven multi-generational story then this one is worth a spin.
Multi POV stories aren’t the easiest to pull-off and this one saw us alternating quite often. The characters all multi-dimensional with their own distinctive voices were easy to identify. That being said, we were also jumping between past and present timelines for one of the women and this could’ve been better formatted. I would’ve loved to see the years on the page because it’s a multigenerational story where the past is relevant to the curse. This was a love letter to NOLA and I loved the atmospheric writing, down to seeing Willow gather her ingredients for a spell. Victoria’s love for NOLAN food even if it didn’t always agree with her stomach, I can relate! and Augusta, our matriarch has secrets and I found her back story to be so interesting! I do want to emphasize that this is NOT a book about magic and I do feel like that has been a major misconception. It also isn’t plot heavy, it’s character driven and slow to unwind which means it’s exactly the type of story for me. Overall this was a 4 star read I enjoyed getting lost in. I highly recommend listening to the Spotify track list along with the read, I found it enhanced my experience.
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