When Mika next woke, it was because Jamie had stopped the car. She ached all over, but the shivery, dizzy ickiness was gone. Rubbing her eyes, she saw that the broomstick was outside a mostly dark Nowhere House. Only the upstairs hallway and kitchen lights were still on.
“Home,” Jame said quietly.
Home. It sounded right, which was frankly terrifying because it wasn’t her home. Sooner or later, she’d have to leave. It was wildly foolish to get attached, to care, because she had never belonged anywhere and had never been enough for anybody, and it was only a matter of time before the people of Nowhere House figured that out.
The Very Secret Society of irregular Witches is a cozy, charming and romantic tale of belonging and home.
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….
Our story opens on Mika Moon, an orphaned witch feeling lost in the world. Due to the rules of the witches, she is not supposed to befriend other witches – too much magic can cause attention with humans, and she struggles to befriend regular humans without being able to tell her secrets. She, as a very modern witch, skirts the rules and films herself for YouTube in her own made up potions and tea shop where she performs magic and connects with people who think she’s just pretending. Until one person realizes she’s the real deal, which is how Mika finds herself at Nowhere House and meets Ian Kubo-Hawthorn – retired actor, housekeeper and guardian of three magical girls. He wants her to teach them to control their magic, before they are discovered by a lawyer who suspects things aren’t as they seem and could threaten their livelihood. When Mika agrees, we are thrown into a delightful adventure filled with zany and wild characters that just charmed my heart.
Mika is charming and gentle and just wants to be loved for herself. At Nowhere House, she finds herself falling for the three young girls who she’s tasked with teaching. Mika knows having a group of witches together will cause people to notice – the energy levels go a little haywire when magic is happening. But Mika is willing to risk it when she meets Rosette, Terracotta and Altimira. Each girl, like Mika, is an orphan because of a curse that kills a witch that has recently given birth – which is a real bummer because Mika has always dreamed of having a large family. The three girls – found all over the world: as an Indian girl raised in Britain, Mika wants to make sure these girls feel like they belong. The girls range from sweet and shy to fierce and powerful: one has a delightful streak of terror that made me laugh out loud.
This is an enemy to lovers’ swoony romance with the house’s sexy and grumpy librarian. Jamie has his own mysterious past, and watching the curmudgeonly librarian fall very much against his wishes with the quirky and zany Mika was so wonderful. I adored their chemistry and how they fought so hard against their attraction but took care of each other in the small and subtle ways that makes your heart yearn. If this book was turned into a movie it would have some of those hand-grazing scenes from Pride and Prejudice that I adore.
Nowhere House is a fantastical and magical setting that is the type of house I dream of getting lost in. And the house helps Mika find her own voice and stand up against the things she sees as wrong in her witchy society. Mika fights against her loneliness and her sense of never belonging in order to make sure the three girls she’s teaching get to stay together. This book is a lovely romance that also meditates on the idea of home, belonging and loneliness in today’s manic world. This is a cozy, whimsical and lovely book that has been added to my reread shelf, because I will be returning to Nowhere House anytime I am sad and lonely.
Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.