House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Posted 1 April, 2014 by Danny in Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review / 7 Comments

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie WhippleHouse of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Published by Harper Collins, Harper Teen, HarperCollins on 2014-04-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Friendship, General, Girls & Women, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
4 Stars

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother.

But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined.

Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple comes with such a beautiful and catching cover and promised to be a entertaining and very magical Young Adult story.

All Magic Come With a Prize

Ok I admit, that I totally borrowed from Once Upon A Time here, but Magic in House of Ivy & Sorrow truly always comes with a prize, as in some hairs, a fingernail or other weird things, some more horrific than others, and of course highly depends on the magic the witch wants to cast.

The witch and magic lore in House of Ivy & Sorrow is truly unique and wasn’t cute, or sweet or swirly. Magic is a little darker here and magical spells all need some weird (super weird) ingredients. But, these highly unique and more old school witchcraft added this contemporary young adult story a little extra.

Witches, Strangers and Mysteries

Jopsephine grew up being a witch and always knew that she’s the last of  a very powerful bloodline, where female witches often got cursed like her mothers (which also ultimately results in death…) So she was heavily guarded by her Grandma (which I adore!!) and knew she needed to be careful not to end up death. So when a mysterious stranger comes into town, suddenly she’s in between the desperate wish to be normal, have normal friendships and even date a boy and being the sole survivor of a powerful witchline.

Jo actually managed to handle both worlds quite fantastically and we find in Jo a girl, who is both normal, cute and girlish and on the other hand a soon-to-be powerful witch. Clearly, she doesn’t have it easy struggling both lives, but Joe managed this quite wonderfully.

OoOO so many wonderful people!!

Clearly, this story lives from a colourful cast of amazing characters. I picture Nana like one of these old witches. She was so easy to love with her fierce protectiveness of Jo and her powerful witchcraft. Jo and Nana were such a great team, even when they not agreed!

Then, there are Jo’s best friends and how much I loved these girls together. They loyal and loving friendship was wonderful. I always love when protagonists finally share their secrets with their best friends as it only feels natural for them to do so.

Last but not least we have two boys who couldn’t be more different from each other but are equally flashy. Winn is the cute Farmboy-Next-Door, who loves his family and falls head over heels for Jo. Their romance was cute and light and could have been a little more intense. Often I felt like Jo and Winn were even younger than 16 which often turns me off a romance very fast.

Of course we are now missing the Bad-Boy which comes in the form of Levi. He’s such a mysterious and great character, who made it very hard to put him into one of our cute little boxes of good and evil. I love that about characters and Levi is definitely mysterious and added some thrill and maturity into the story.


Bewitched Rating

Rating 4

Bottom Line

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple was an intriguing tale filed with old school witchcraft set into a very contemporary setting. The cast of characters is outstanding with a spunky heroine and terrific supporting friends and family members. Sometimes Jo felt a little too young for me, which easily turned into childish behavior.



Love old school magic? The one with herbs, fisheye and other bizarre ingredients? Or do you prefer the more modern take on witchcraft?

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7 Responses to “House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple”

  1. I have seen a lot of mixed feelings about this one. It seems people either like it or they don’t. I feel like I would since it would be great to read a book with “old school” witchcraft. Great review!
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  2. I agree on the romance Danny! You and I always like something with a little more substance, and this was pretty romance-light. Still, I liked that Winn was a good boy, it was fun to see him win the day rather than Levi:) Such a pretty cover on this one, I just can’t get over it. I want to hang it in my house it’s so gorgeous!

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  3. I have my issues with witches books, but I like the old school stuff a lot, having the whole “magic has a price” feeling to it.
    Thanks for a great review, now I cannot wait for my preorder to get here!

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