Book Review: Reluctantly Charmed

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Author: Ellie O’Neill
ISBN: 9781922052773
RRP: $29.99

Reluctantly Charmed is fun and fantastical, filled with fairies and folklore in far off times and faraway places.

Kate McDaid uses her birthday to make new years resolutions and her 26th birthday is no different, to begin with at least. She hopes to kickstart her love-life and her career. She has been a junior copywriter in a large advertising firm for years and always seems to miss out on the promotions, she has the skills and the knowledge but lacks the confidence to assert herself.

On her 26th birthday, after the obligatory office cake, Kate receives a very strange registered letter and from here things only get stranger.

It seems Kate is the sole beneficiary of an estate that has been held in the law office for over a century. The fact that it has taken this long for there to be a female in her line seems strange in itself but that’s only the beginning. Kate’s inheritance is dependent on her fulfilling certain conditions. She has to publish one letter a week for seven weeks.Sounds simple, right? Except she doesn’t get to see the letters until she agrees to the conditions, and she only gets the letters the day they are due to be published.

Curiousity gets the better of her and she agrees to the conditions to discover that the first letter is a plea to reconnect with nature and the fairies of Irish folklore.

Kate is a modern girl, far removed from Knocknamee and any belief in the little people of old. How can she publish this letter from a mad distant relative? She’ll be a laughing stock. If she doesn’t publish she doesn’t inherit and really, what harm can it do; we could all benefit from paying a little more attention to the world around us. With the help of a friend from work Kate publishes on the website of a now defunct band, assuming that no-one will see it because the website is no longer used.

Here begins a roller coaster ride Kate could never have predicted. She learns things about herself and her world that she never expected and finds herself firmly in the public eye.

Ellie O’Neill has entwined modern society and all of its conveniences with fairies of folklore in this amusing tale which has a little bit of everything – even the Hoff.


The story telling is engaging with great pacing and there is always something going on. Kate’s resolution to kickstart her career could happen if only they can nail the chocolate campaign that fell into their hands but it’s the resolution to find love that kept me guessing. Prospective love interests for Kate were not as scarce as I first expected so it was intriguing to follow the storyline and see where she found love.

O’Neill tackles an engaging premise with humour and charm.What would happen if the magical creatures of folklore wanted to get back into the mortal world? How easily could the word be spread in the age of social media? And how much do modern men and women want to be given reason to believe in magic?

It begins as a bit of a laugh but soon the what ifs begin. What if there is something more and what if all we need to do is commune with nature before we are offered proof? How willing are people in the modern world to put their faith in unorthodox healing remedies.

Kate finds herself running away from the media storm she created only to discover that maybe she was running towards her heritage all along.

Reluctantly Charmed is filled with gorgeous Irish countryside, from small towns to beaches and big city Dublin, and interesting pieces of folklore. Kate McDaid’s story is fiction, though our heroine has fiery red hair much like her talented creator… I wonder if perhaps this is just another way for the fairies to spread their message of appreciating nature and earn a place in the mortal realm – but I digress. The story is fiction but I’m sure there is some truth to the general folklore so heavily present throughout.

O’Neill has written some very three dimensional characters which is quite a good thing with the extensive and diverse cast in play. The romance was quite low key but the tension was present almost from the start, it was a well written storyline that satisfied without becoming gratuitous.

Reluctantly Charmed is a solid debut that filled me with light and laughter, cheering on Kate and wondering what would be next. I will certainly be watching out for what comes next from Ellie O’Neill.

Come back on Monday when we host Ellie as part of her Blog Tour.
You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

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