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A Pinch of Magic #1

A Pinch of Magic

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A spellbinding middle grade fantasy about three sisters--adventurous Betty, curious Charlie, and proper Fliss--who go on a quest to break the curse that's haunted their family for generations.

All Betty Widdershins wants is an adventure--one that takes her far away from Crowstone, the gloomy island where she's always lived. But instead of an adventure, Betty and her sisters, Fliss and Charlie, are given of a set of magical objects, each with its own powers: a scruffy carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls, and a gilt-framed mirror. And these magical objects come with their own terrible secret: the sisters' family is haunted by a generations-long curse that prevents them from ever leaving their island--at the cost of death.

The sisters set out to break the curse and free their family forever. But after stumbling upon a mysterious prisoner who claims to be able to help them, they find themselves in great danger. And in order to break the curse--and stay alive--they must unravel a mystery that goes back centuries, one that involves shipwrecks, smugglers, and sorcery of the most perilous kind.

368 pages, ebook

First published February 7, 2019

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About the author

Michelle Harrison

51 books1,129 followers
My first children's novel, THE 13 TREASURES, won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and was followed by two sequels: THE 13 CURSES and THE 13 SECRETS, and a prequel, ONE WISH.

I've also written UNREST, a ghost story for young adult readers, THE OTHER ALICE, which won the Calderdale Book of the Year Award and the MIDNIGHT MAGIC series for younger readers. My latest novel is A STORM OF SISTERS, the fourth in the best-selling PINCH OF MAGIC ADVENTURES.

Before becoming a full-time writer I worked in publishing as an editor, and also as a bookseller. Prior to that, I worked in bars, a bakery, and a second-hand record shop to make ends meet while trying to get my first book deal. I live in Essex with my son, Jack, partner Neil and cats Marmite and Widdershins.

The best place to get in touch with me is via my website or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michel...

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5 stars
2,436 (34%)
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3 stars
1,338 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,187 reviews
Profile Image for Gavin Hetherington.
673 reviews5,643 followers
March 19, 2020
Finished my re-read of A Pinch of Magic and I love it even more than I did when I read it last year. I didn’t think it was possible.

A Pinch of Magic follows three Widdershins sisters - Fliss, Betty and Charlie - who are cursed to always live on Crowstone. If they go beyond, they will die by the next sunset. This is only the beginning of their incredible, magical adventure. It’s a race against time to save their lives and each other.

One of the reasons why this is one of the best middle grades I have ever read is due to the characters. Betty is our more predominant heroine, though her sisters have a huge presence too, but Betty’s character is so determined and funny, she drives this story forward. Fliss is the eldest and comes across as quite vain, but she has the best character development out of all of them! And Charlie, oh Charlie, the youngest - she is just incredible! For being a 6 year old, she is a force of nature. These three sisters work so well together, and seeing their relationship in this is so genuine, it adds to the charm of the story.

I love the plot more than anything!! It can be dark and Harrison writes the most pitch-perfect atmospheric scenes I’ve ever read in ANY book, let alone middle grade. Everything is so vividly pictured with the language. The plot also takes turns I couldn’t have expected because I didn’t know how the sisters were going to come out victorious. I mean, this is a re-read so I did know haha, but when I first read this, it took me completely by surprise.

All in all, this book will go down in history as one of my favourite children’s book of all time. What’s better is that the sequel, A Sprinkle of Sorcery, is even better!
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
453 reviews6,973 followers
March 10, 2020
I...absolutely adored this book.
It was just truly magical. It might be called A Pinch of Magic, but magic infused every word of this wonderful book.

Imagine an adventure story. Now add the high stakes element of being unable to leave an island to go on said adventure. Throw in some criminals, witchcraft, and what is without a doubt one of the strongest sisterly bonds I’ve read in a book...and you have a book that easily settles itself into ALL of your emotions. I didn’t expect to get so caught up in it, but every single time I picked up this book I just sped through the pages, completely wrapped up in what happened. The entire plot is one that seems fairly linear but by no means is simple, taking you down routes you just can’t expect.

But the sisters. My god did I love reading that bond between the three Widdershin sisters. It was so authentic, full of loyalty and annoyance and all the complicated emotions that come along with such relationships - even the age differences showed. I don’t even HAVE siblings, and I could tell this is exactly how it is a lot of the time. And their progression through the book only added to my love for them, so much so that I’m itching to read the next book immediately. I want to know where they could possibly end up!

It’s safe to say this is one of my favourite middle grades I’ve read. The strong family bonds and close knit (but not entirely welcoming) community provide a brilliant backdrop to a story full of curses, criminals, and a collection of odd objects. With some darker elements balancing out the magic and whimsy, this book just seemed like the ultimate adventure story - with just a pinch of magic :)

TW: suicide
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
January 10, 2023
This is the first instalment in the A Pinch of Magic trilogy.

The three Widdershins sisters are unlike in looks and personality. The eldest, Fliss, is famed island-wide as much for her beauty as for her flirting, middle child Betty is the straight-taking one whose eyes are always resting on the horizon, and youngest Charlie is a bundle of energetic trouble, who can usually be found with a four-legged rescue hiding somewhere inside her overalls. All three reside with their granny on dreary Crowstone and all three are longing for adventure. This last fact is where lies their problem.

On Betty's thirteenth Birthday, Granny reveals the Widdershins are plagued by an ancient curse that has them trapped on the island's confines with death their only escape. Their only good fortune comes in the shape of three mismatched items, handed down to them from generations of their ancestors - a carpet bag, a mermaid looking glass, and a set of dolls - and all these items come complete with a little pinch of magic.

This was such an intricate and well-crafted middle-grade story, that appealed to this adult reader just as much as the younger age range it was aimed towards. I found the three sisters hilarious and lovable, and adored getting into mischief alongside them. The story-line was well-paced and brilliantly-plotted with an unknowable trajectory that kept each new escapade and spot of trouble feeling fresh and exciting. I can't wait to see what the Widdershins get up to next, in A Sprinkle of Sorcery

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Michelle Harrison, and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for this opportunity.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews360 followers
March 12, 2020
A Pinch of Magic is a story of sisters, a curse and maybe a pinch of magic. Widdershin sisters Fliss, Betty and Charlie are the latest in a long line of Widdershin women to be cursed to never leave their home island, or else they'll be dead by sundown. But Betty longs for adventure and a way to escape her boring life by breaking the curse. So when the girls are gifted with some family heirlooms in the shape of a mysterious travelling bag, a set of wooden dolls and an old mirror Betty decides to take matters into her own hands and seek out the knowledge of a prisoner who seems to know the answer to breaking the curse.

I loved the sister's familial bond in this. Although all three have strong personalities they bounce off each other well, showing genuine affection and warmth for each other. Charlie, the youngest sister, was a personal favourite with her love of animals and food. As was the formidable Granny Widdershin, who could knock a fully grown man out with her travelling bag before setting up camp back behind the bar of the Poachers Pocket Inn. Blunt and direct, she can put anyone in their place with one sharp word, but she loves her granddaughters more than anything and would stop at nothing to protect them. Colton is another great addition to the cast, as he's quieter and more thoughtful than the girls, with a harsh and unfair backstory that warms his character to the reader. You get a good feel for the reasons behind his desperate actions, and just how brave he really is.

I also really liked the world building. Set primarily on large island surrounded by three smaller ones (named Lament, Torment and Repent) it feels atmospheric and full of tension that lends itself well to the high stakes story. The world building is good, with plenty of descriptions to give colour to the island and help set the scene of a stormy and hostile environment. I also particularly liked the chapters dedicated to Sorcha's story and the clever way it was interwoven into the current storyline that made it feel more like a magical fairytale.

That said, this wasn't perfect for me. The story overall feels rather predictable and the ending itself is also a little too neat for me. I understand I'm not the target audience, and I'm sure younger readers would be totally satisfied by the conclusion but I just found myself feeling like this lacked a little extra spark of something different.

Nonetheless, this is a lovely story about sisters, love and adventure set in a well developed world.
Profile Image for Umut.
355 reviews164 followers
September 26, 2019
This was such a cute, magical middle grade book with a gorgeous cover & end pages I must say :)
It's about Widdershin sisters trying to break a family curse affecting the women in their family for generations. They go on an adventure full of magic.
I loved the themes in this book. Sisterhood was the most prominent one with Widdershin sisters helping each other no matter what. There are also underlying content about trust, family, good & evil, etc.
The pace of the book was really good too. So, overall, I really enjoyed it. I sometimes go to a middle grade book for a quick and fun read to get out of a slump, and this did the job :)

Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,093 reviews6,577 followers
March 31, 2021
1.) A Pinch of Magic ★★★★.5
2.) A Sprinkle of Sorcery ★★★★★
3.) A Tangle of Spells ★★★



"She who tries, triumphs."

representation: characters of colour (described as having brown skin).

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


At first I wasn't really seeing what the hype was all about, but the more we got into the story, the more I really enjoyed it! AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN VIBES???? LIT.

trigger warnings: loss of loved ones (in the past), incarcerated loved ones, mention of suicide, mild violence, kidnapping.
Profile Image for giulia ♡❁ུ۪.
370 reviews237 followers
May 14, 2020
I adored this book. I understand why so many people rave about the series and Michelle Harrison's writing. It was literally magical.
I loved seeing the bond between the sisters mixed with a touch of old mythology. It truly felt like reading a fairytale.
I also really appreciated how different the girls were but that didn't create jealousy or rivalry. It brought them even closer and what a team they were.
Betty the explorer, Fliss the caring and charming, Charlie the mischievous and daring.
Each of them gave something to this story and I loved seeing their journey and development during this book. The dark atmosphere of this book was incredibly well written and the plot was so well crafted. I definitely plan to read the sequel as soon as possible.

I loved that there was a quiz to find out which Widdershins sister you are. Not surprisingly I got Charlie. What can I say us ambitious and daring girls need to stick together.
Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,590 reviews330 followers
August 21, 2021
whimsical and a very strong, well written middle grade book.
Profile Image for ✦BookishlyRichie✦.
639 reviews1,038 followers
June 6, 2021
***3.5 STARS***

The last three books I've read, including this one have all read and ended like standalones, but end up having more books as a series for no damn reason lol As much as I consider Michelle's 13 Treasures trilogy to be one of my favorites, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed in this one. It dragged at the beginning which makes sense why this book is 400 pages, it could've easily been cut down to 300. They hype for this was intense and of course it didn't measure up to it as usual lol

Also after building up a story with three sisters, they end up separated? I didn't get that, I didn't care for these two other characters who were included and aided Betty throughout the book, I wanted all three sisters on this adventure together. My peeves aside it was still a fun read, but I won't be picking up the rest in the series. If you're looking for whimsical fun I'd actually recommend this one. - R.
Profile Image for Cat.
592 reviews55 followers
February 17, 2019
Have you ever found an author who write stories that are EXACTLY what you wish stories would be? That everything you ever wanted to imagine in a story is there, perfectly articulated on the pages you're holding in your hand? Well, Michelle Harrison is that author for me. Every single one of her novels has had exactly the right amount of magic, character names, adventure, and imagination that I could ever want in a story.

This particular novel was a delight to read. I was captivated from the first page, and only put it down last night because I had to close my eyes to sleep. I picked it back up as soon as I woke up this morning - even before the coffee was made! What a brilliant magical adventure.
Profile Image for Georgia.
989 reviews52 followers
April 1, 2020
Δείτε επίσης και στο Chill and read

Τελευταία έχω ανακαλύψει την αγάπη που έχω για τα middle grade βιβλία και τις ιστορίες που απευθύνονται περισσότερο σε παιδιά. Έτσι λοιπόν όταν είδα ότι οι Εκδόσεις Διόπτρα εξέδωσαν το βιβλίο «Μια στάλα μαγεία» έσπευσα να το διαβάσω, αφού το είχα ήδη βάλει στο μάτι από καιρό! Το βιβλίο κυκλοφόρησε στα Αγγλικά μόλις την προηγούμενη χρονιά και ήδη το Γενάρη μπήκε στα ράφια των βιβλιοπωλείων της χώρας μας και ελπίζω και σε αρκετά σπίτια! Αν έχετε παιδί ή είστε οι ίδιοι από 9 ετών και πάνω, ή αν και σε εσάς αρέσει να διαβάζεται ιστορίες για αυτές τις ηλικίες, δώστε του μια ευκαιρία. Είναι φανταστικό!

Ποιο παιδί δεν ονειρεύεται να ταξιδέψει; Είτε σε μέρη πραγματικά, είτε σε μέρη φανταστικά. Οι αδερφές Γουίντερσινς θέλουν να κάνουν ακριβώς αυτό! όμως μια αρχέγονη κατάρα τις κρατάει δέσμιες στο Κροουστόουν, ένα σκοτεινό νησί περιτριγυρισμένο από τους Ομιχλώδεις Βάλτους. Ένα νησί από το οποίο δεν μπορούν να απομακρυνθούν, γιατί αν το κάνουν δε θα ζήσουν μετά το επόμενο ξημέρωμα. Αυτή τη γνώση την έμαθαν με τον απότομο τρόπο ενώ προσπαθούσαν να ζήσουν σαν φυσιολογικά παιδιά και να χαρούν ένα πανηγύρι.

Τα τρία κορίτσια ζουν με τη γιαγιά τους από την οποία δεν μπορούν να ξεφύγουν με τίποτε. Κάθε φορά που πάνε να της κρυφτούν ή να κάνουν μια αταξία, η γιαγιά τις καταλαβαίνει και εμφανίζεται κοντά τους από το πουθενά σχεδόν, στο άψε σβήσε. Όμως η γιαγιά τις αγαπάει και τις φροντίζει και θέλει πάντα το καλύτερο για αυτές, έχοντας την ευθύνη τους από όταν έχασαν τη μητέρα τους και ειδικά τώρα που ο πατέρας τους είναι στη φυλακή. Όμως για να τις προστατέψει, πρέπει να τους φανερώσει όσα τους κρύβει τόσα χρόνια και να τους δώσει τα οικογενειακά κειμήλια που είναι προορισμένα για τις τρεις τους. Μια παλιά ταξιδιωτική τσάντα που επιτρέπει στην κάτοχό της να ταξιδεύει, τέσσερις ξύλινες κούκλες για να γίνονται αόρατες και έναν καθρέφτη με γοργόνες για να μιλούν μέσα από αυτόν. Με τα κειμήλια στα χέρια τους οι τρεις αδερφές θα προσπαθήσουν να σπάσουν την κατάρα και να ελευθερωθούν για πάντα.

Αυτή η ιστορία είναι γεμάτη από περιπέτεια. Μια περιπέτεια όχι ακριβώς όπως την ονειρευόταν η Μπέτι, η μεσαία αδερφή. Στα δεκατρία της η Μπέτι έχει βαρεθεί το Κροουστόουν και θέλει να ταξιδέψει και να γνωρίσει τον κόσμο. Οι χάρτες που έχει γεμίσει το δωμάτιό της φανερώνουν αυτή της τη λαχτάρα. Όμως η Μπέτι δεν ονειροπολεί απλώς, είναι πρακτικός χαρακτήρας. Θέλει να ξεκινήσει να βάζει τα σχέδιά της σε εφαρμογή και ξεκινάει με αφορμή τη γιορτή του Χαλογουίν και το πανηγύρι στο Μάρσφουτ, το πιο κοντινό μέρος στο Κροουστόουν που όμως φαίνεται να ξέρει πως να διασκεδάσει τα παιδιά σε μια τέτοια γιορτή. Αυτό θέλει να ζήσει και η Μπέτι και να το χαρίσει και στη μικρή αδερφή της, την εξάχρονη Τσάρλι. Και κάπως έτσι ξεκινούν οι περιπέτειες των κοριτσιών.

Λάτρεψα την ωριμότητα της Μπέτι. Για ένα παιδί στην ηλικία της, σκέφτεται πολύ πρακτικά και με αρκετή λογική. Ναι, έχει άγνοια κινδύνου, μέχρι ενός σημείου μόνο. Όπως και όλα τα παιδιά της ηλικίας της πιστεύει ότι είναι άτρωτη. Τον πραγματικό κίνδυνο όμως τον αναγνωρίζει και προσπαθεί να προφυλαχτεί. Ενθουσιάστηκα με την μικρή Τσάρλι! Έχει την ηλικία της κόρης μου, η οποία παρεμπιπτόντως περιμένει να μεγαλώσει για να μπορέσει και η ίδια να διαβάσει το βιβλίο, οπότε μπορώ πολύ καλά να φανταστώ πως σκέφτεται το μυαλουδάκι της. Το φαγητό είναι κινητήρια δύναμη για πολλά πράγματα! Η Φλις, η μεγαλύτερη από τις τρεις αδερφές είναι και αυτή που πλησιάζει στην ενηλικίωση. Όπως τα περισσότερα κορίτσια στην ηλικία της, είναι ματαιόδοξη και ίσως λίγο επιφανειακή. Η εξαιρετική της ομορφιά της βοηθά προς αυτή την κατεύθυνση όσο να ‘ναι. Στην πορεία όμως την ιστορίας ο χαρακτήρας της εξελίσσεται θετικά, καθώς διδάσκεται μέσα από την περιπέτεια στην οποία εισέρχονται και καθώς αναθυμάται την αγάπη που έχει για τις αδερφές της, ειδικά τώρα που μοιράζονται όλες το ίδιο μυστικό και την ίδια κατάρα.

Με λίγα λόγια είναι ένα βιβλίο γεμάτο αδελφική αγάπη, περιπέτεια και μια στάλα μαγεία!
Profile Image for Jennie Damron.
467 reviews60 followers
March 25, 2021
Everything that my booktubers said about this book is true. This was absolutely wonderful!! Three sisters have to figure out how to remove a curse that has been placed on their family more than a century ago. Betty, Fliss, and Charlie are delightful characters and I fell in love with all of them. The sister dynamic in this book is the best I have read in a long time. I was swept away by the whimsy and charm this book offered. I loved everything about this book. There is not one single thing I would change. I highly recommend this book. I would give it 10 stars if I could.
Profile Image for Χρύσα Αναστασίου.
Author 6 books115 followers
February 27, 2020
This was so cute and wholesome. I had a great adventure alongside Betty, her sisters and a few more characters I cannot talk about due to spoilers. The book kept me such a good company and I had a feeling of warmth the whole time I was reading it.
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,398 reviews234 followers
June 14, 2021
Wat een heerlijk jeugdboek dit! Alles wat ik er in wil hebben zit erin, van leuke personages met hun eigenaardigheden tot een verhaallijn met magie en avontuur. Heel erg van genoten!
Profile Image for Totoro.
191 reviews30 followers
November 6, 2022
لینک ریویو در یوتوب


وای که چقدر این کتاب خوب بود و چقدر خوندنش طول کشید 😑
خب به دو دلیل اینقدر طول کشید یکی اینکه چون کتاب فیزیکیش رو نداشتم 😭مجبور بودم توی گوشی ایپاب بخونم و این خودش باعث کندی میشد و دوم اینکه تقریبا همزمان با شروع کردن این کتاب ، من کتابخونه هم ثبتنام کردم و اولویت خیلی وقت ها میرفت با کتابای کتابخونه تا زودتر بتونم پسشون بدم.

حالا خود داستان، که چقدر خوب بود ، چقدر خلاق چقدر عالی ، یعنی من طی خوندنش اصلا حس نمیکردم دارم یه داستان که ساخته و پرداخته ی ذهن کس دیگه ایه رو میخونم بلکه مثل این بود که این اتفاقات واقعا افتادن

شخصیت ها همه دوست داشتنی، مامان بزرگشون برای من چهره و شخصیتش شبیه پیرزن های خفن انیمه های هایائو میازاکی بود 😅. بتی، فلیس و چارلی هم که سه تا خواهر فوق العاده بودن که نمیشد عاشقشون نبود

پرداخت داستان و حوادث انقدر جالب و حرفه ای بودن که گاهی دهنم باز میموند و میخ میشدم سر جام.
هیچ کلیشه ای در کار نبود و همه چیز سیر طبیعی و فوق طبیعی خودش رو طی کرد.

در کل عالی بود عالی بود عالی بود. حتما جلدهای بعد رو هم میخونم
Profile Image for Nicole.
871 reviews319 followers
June 17, 2020
This was such a whisimical magical middle grade. It was such a pleasant read.

I really really loved this book. I really was in the mood for something fun and magical, this definitely filled that need.

The writing was really good. Obviously its aimed at children but as an adult, I really enjoyed it still and I think it could be enjoyed by any age.

The characters were also lovely. I really loved the three sisters, especially Charlie, she was adorable.

It was super easy to read. It really did warm my heart. There was lots of important messages for children scattered throughout the book.

If you are looking for a really lovely, magical and enchanting middle grade to distract you from everything that's going on in the world right now, I can't recommend this enough.
Profile Image for lara.
41 reviews
April 6, 2023
I DID IT. I FINALLY FINISHED A BOOK AGAIN. AND IT WASN’T A NONFICTION OR A 2 STAR BOOK. NO. THIS IS GETTING 5 STARS. WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT THIS DAY WOULD EVER ARRIVE?? CERTAINLY NOT ME. anyways u know it’s a good book when you have no coherent thoughts whatsoever and the only thing you can do to convince people to actually pick it up is to shout at them to just read it or write a silly little goodreads review that’ll leave new readers/people who, in fact, want to know something about the story before going in with nothing but another thing to be concerned about. (The “thing” I’m referring to here is me. I should be concerned about myself. Love writing reviews that are no thoughts, just vibes + empty words + my absolute fave, waffling 🤩) Anyways…read the book, it’s pretty good.
Profile Image for Steph.
925 reviews70 followers
November 20, 2018
A brilliantly written tale of sisterhood, magic, betrayal and revenge. What would you do if you were handed a magical object, but then told you were cursed? Betty has to deal with that on her birthday. Throw in a prisoner who wants to escape, 2 excellently brave sisters and a mysterious legend of a young dark magic witch in a tower and you have this incredible tale. I devoured it in a matter of hours!
Profile Image for Ishi Time.
204 reviews123 followers
October 25, 2021
I really enjoyed this book! It was engaging and beautifully written. The characters were lovable. It was a solid 4-stars right up until the last couple chapters. When I reached the last couple chapters, I just had to bump it up to 10,000 stars because I loved the ending so much.

I don't read a lot of middle grade, so I don't really know what I was expecting. I definitely wasn't expecting the multiple POV switches. I loved the way the narrative switched between the present and past timelines. The storytelling was beautiful. The characters were well developed. There was so much depth.

I liked that this book didn't end on a cliffhanger, and next book seems to follow a completely different story.
Profile Image for melisa.
114 reviews28 followers
December 20, 2021
Od bardzo dawna nie czytałam książki, która wciągnęłaby mnie aż tak bardzo, jak „Szczypta magii”- od samego początku aż do końca. Siostry niezwykle dobrze wykreowane skradły mi serce, tak samo jak łączące je relacje. Pozycja lekka, przyjemna i pełna ciepłej atmosfery idealna na zastój czyteliczny.
Profile Image for mads ☆ミ.
433 reviews141 followers
May 16, 2021
a wholesome and fun sibling bonding story that i couldn’t help but fall in love with !! <3 also betty’s adorable and i’d love to give her the biggest hug
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