The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic


For fans of Practical Magic and Gilmore Girls, The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic is a debut novel that explores the shields we build around our hearts to retain our own magic.

Sadie Revelare has always believed that the curse of four heartbreaks that accompanies her magic would be worth the price. But when her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer with only weeks to live, and her first heartbreak, Jake McNealy, returns to town after a decade, her carefully structured life begins to unravel.

With the news of their grandmother's impending death, Sadie's estranged twin brother Seth returns to town, bringing with him deeply buried family secrets that threaten to tear Sadie's world apart. Their grandmother has been the backbone of the family for generations, and with her death, Sadie isn't sure she'll have the strength to keep the family, and her magic, together.

As feelings for Jake begin to rekindle, and her grandmother growing sicker by the day, Sadie faces the last of her heartbreaks, and she has to decide: is love more important than magic?

Readers who love the magic of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and the sense of community found in The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches will enjoy this warm, witchy novel.

Our Review

"It's a curse of four heartbreaks, sugar."

Gigi shook her head almost as if she were angry. "Each one will be worse than the last. They'll be so deep they'll rend your heart in two. And if you're not careful, when all four heartbreaks come to pass, the curse will follow you like storm clouds, leaning forward towards you like wheat in the wind. Love only as you are willing to lose your magic."

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall is fantastic! I finished it in one day because it was so good I couldn't stop until I had finished it. It is the perfect seasonal read, described in marketing as a cross between Gilmore Girls and Practical Magic. I can't come up with a better description than that as it perfectly describes it. 

The Revelare family are blessed with magic, but with each person's magic there is a curse.

"The curse was the most mysterious part of their legacy. All the Revelares had magic, but they also had a curse to accompany it. For nature demanded balance, and that was its way of keeping things in check."

For Sadie the price of using her magic is that she will suffer four heartbreaks, the last of which will lead to her magic leaving her. Sadie grew up with her grandmother Gigi after her mother abandoned her and her twin brother Seth. Seth took of with no explanation, and her first love Jake left breaking her heart in the process. The only way Sadie can stop herself falling apart is to carefully control every aspect of her life, including who she lets into her heart. If they can't get in then they can't leave her. 

"Long ago , she let herself dream of her own house, a pair of toothbrushes, maybe even water spots on the mirror from a child brushing their teeth too close. 

But her curse made that impossible, and she'd given up on romance too long ago for it to make a difference now."

Then Jake returns and she learns that her beloved grandma is terminally ill. Both discoveries lead to Sadie losing control of both her magic and her emotions. Sadie feels herself yearning for Jake once again but is her magic more important than love? 

Gigi reminded me of my grandad - a storyteller who loved to cook. It made me love the book even more to learn that the book was a tribute to her grandmother,  and Sadie's grief for her grandmother clearly is based on real feelings, and made me think of my own thoughts leading up to and after my grandad's death.

"Her voice was scratchy and Sadie had an instant urge to record everything she said so she could have it forever. Why hadn't she ever been better at taking photos and videos? Why hadn't she journalled all of Gigi's stories, recorded all her funny sayings and typed out recipes so she'd never forget them?"

Gigi is a perfectly written character who smokes like a chimney and swears like a trooper, but she also has a huge amount of love for her family and for the community of Poppy Meadows.

The recipes and descriptions of food in this book made me constantly hungry, and I enjoyed that Sadie's magic was combined with her love of cooking. Her cafe sounded like a dream come true.

"The glass case brimmed with orange-essence croisants sprinkled with candied zest, the card in front reading, 'will cause enthusiasm, encouragement and sucess.' It's neighbour, the fruit and basil tartlets that glistened like a long-forgotten dream read, 'use for good wishes, love and serious intent.' And the cinnamon streusel cake that some locals swore would turn your day lucky, had a card that simply said, 'Stability.' 

Generations ago, the townsfolk would have rebuken or shunned such blatent displays of magic. Now, even if they didn't understand it, they welcomed it with relish and a rumbling stomach."

I am not a fan of romance books on the whole, but if that book is combined with a witchy theme then I am all for it. I enjoyed the storyline that played out between Jake and Sadie, it was there in the story but I never felt that the actual plot of the book was sidelined by it. The romance was a welcome addition, a side dish to compliment the main event. 

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic contained a number of characters with some form of mental health condition, and I felt the author dealt with the topics sensitively without making them a gimmick. Excellent work. 

The Revelare family are not soon going to leave me, including the extended family, and I hope I read about some of them again. 

A legacy without love ain't worth a damn, sugar

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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