The witch's kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
The witch's kiss, bk 1. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN
(Age: 13+) Witchcraft. Magic. Fairy tale retelling. Sixteeen-year-old Meredith has decided not to use her powers as a witch after something went badly wrong, but her family history ensures that her magic will be used. When she finds a box with a braid of hair and other artefacts inside it her grandmother tells her that her destiny is to save the world from a wicked magician, Gwydion, and Jack, the King of Hearts. With her brother Leo, she meets Jack in his human form, and gradually details of the tragic story unfold as Merry goes back in dreams to the time when Jack was cursed as a baby and when her ancestors, the three sisters, try to break the curse.
The witch's kiss, which is easy to read, will appeal to those who enjoy the genre of fairy tale retelling. Instead of a princess being cursed in a cradle, a baby boy prince is cursed and when he turns 18, the wicked magician Gwydion comes for him, and makes him take the hearts of lovers, which Gwydion then uses to grow his magic. Merry is a likeable heroine who has to come to grips with her powers and make some difficult decisions especially as she comes to love Jack. Her brother Leo is a great side-kick, supportive and helpful while the witch's coven, led by Merry's grandmother, make an interesting contribution as well.
The suspense of wondering whether Merry will survive the trials that face her keeps the reader engrossed and the rescue attempt under the lake is exciting. The romance is low key and while the book can be read as a stand-alone, there is another to follow, The witch's tears, which may divulge whether true love's kiss saves the day.