Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when a fire ripped through the island’s orchard and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. She’d once dreamt of running away with August, leaving Saoirse Island for good. Now, she is doing what she thought she never would: living a quiet existence among this tight-knit community steeped in folklore and tradition, ruled by the seasons and ancient superstitions. But when August returns after fourteen years to bury his mother’s ashes, Emery must confront her first love and the reason he left so abruptly. But the town wants August gone again. And as the island begins to show signs of strange happenings, the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.
Spells for Forgetting is a multiple point of view story. It’s mostly told from Emery and August’s perspectives but there are the odd other characters’ viewpoints sprinkled throughout. It’s also told in the present when August returns to Saoirse and how everything starts snowballing from there, and there’s flashbacks to various points in time before the night of the fire and Lily’s death.
It’s the atmosphere in Spells for Forgetting that I found really compelling. The community on Saoirse is very tightknit and hits all those stereotypical smalltown community tropes with everyone knowing everyone’s business and there being unspoken rules about how to behave. Then there’s the addition magic and it’s the kind of magic where you’re left wondering if it is just superstitions and old wives’ tales or is the island really steeped in magic. It’s the women on the island who potentially have some sort of magical connection to the place and seeing how different women either use or sense that magic is really interesting and adds to each woman’s character. (more…)