Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

Pages: 416
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: March 17, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Kate McDaid is listing her new-year’s resolutions hoping to kick-start her rather stagnant love life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week. Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Almost instantaneously, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye. As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil her great-aunt’s final, devastating request ... and whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t. Witty, enchanting and utterly addictive, Reluctantly Charmed is about what happens when life in the fast lane collides with the legacy of family, love and its possibilities … and a little bit of magic. "
Kate McDaid lives a seemingly normal life in Dublin. She works at an advertisement agency and like any normal twenty-six year old, she spends a lot of time with her girlfriends as they all try to tread the waters of dating in the big city. One day she receives a letter from a lawyer saying that she has inherited something from one of her ancestors. Surpsingly enough, her parents have no clue who this ancestor is and to make matters even weirder, the ancestor shares her name and lived in the 1800s.  But this isn't any normal ancestor. Kate McDaid from the 1800s was known for her "second sight" and leaves Kate a series of poems that deal with the faeries. If Kate publishes a poem a week, she will then earn whatever it is that she has inherited. Kate thinks this is some bizarre joke, but as more people find out about Kate's inheritance and the faeries' poems, she becomes a bit of a celebrity in the media.  Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill is a whimsical debut that's a fun read for St. Patrick's Day or fans of Irish folklore.

Kate McDaid is pretty easy to relate to as she is a modern working woman in Reluctantly Charmed. Her experiences of the ups and downs of the single life in Dublin are very relatable as well as her interactions with her family.  Things start to get a little crazy for her once she receives the letter stating her possible inheritance from her ancestor.  Kate doesn't think much of the "Seven Steps" from the faeries, but apparently, many people in Ireland are still intersted in faeries, which were a common topic of discussion in the 1800s.  To complicate matters further, Kate is catapulted into celebrity status in Dublin as more and more people want to read the "Seven Steps," plus, she has to navigate dating, juggling the demands of her job, and her family all while in the middle of this maelstrom.  In the back of her mind, she is also questioning what could be the actual inheritance from her ancestor whom shares her name?

The best part of Relucantly Charmed is its depiction of Ireland, its people, and the folklore. O'Neill did a great job making the magic of Ireland come to life.

I think the basic premise of Reluctantly Charmed is pure fun. Wouldn't it be cool if an ancestor left you something many, many years ago? Kate knows nothing about this older Kate and as she learns more about her, she realizes that she was known as "The Red Hag." She could communicate with the faeries, so in turn, people think because she is related to the former Kate McDaid, that perhaps the she too possesses these same talents.

If you enjoy Ireland, its people and folklore, you'll enjoy this light read that is perfect for springtime or celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  Although I had a few small issues with Reluctantly Charmed, I was able to overlook them and enjoy this whimsical tale that had me longing to go back and visit the beautiful island of Ireland. 


  1. The setting is certainly appealing and I like the basic premise of a mysterious inheritance and ancestor though I'm not sure about the fairy part :)

    It kind of reminds me of something Cecelia Ahern might write. Nice review!

    1. Yes, the fairy part was a little silly at times, but I love Celtic folklore, so I had fun with it. Also, it was definitely similar to Cecelia Ahern. Thanks for visiting, Christina!


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