Author: Helen Oyeyemi
Publisher: 2/4/14 Riverhead (Kindle Edition)
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
This is the story about a very unique house located in Dover, England and the connection that the women of the Silver family line hold with the home. Still attempting to recover from the loss of their mother Lily Silver; Miranda who struggles from a multitude of ailments including Pica, and her twin brother Eliot live in the home while it is ran as a bed-and-breakfast by their father Luc. We soon discover that the Silver House in Dover does not welcome strangers kindly and begins to manifest its disapproval outwardly with hostile occurrences, driving away guests and staff.
“Dear Miranda Silver,
This house is bigger than you know! There are extra floors, with lots of people in them. They are looking people. They look at you, and they never move. We do not like them. We do not like this house, and we are glad to be going away. This is the end of our letter.”
― Helen Oyeyemi,
This is a difficult title for me to review. I was very close to rating this 4 stars. It’s definitely more of a 3.5 star read. I am going to be honest, I do not remember how I learned of this novel, but the original synopsis was intriguing enough for me to pick up a copy on my Kindle. I have personally never read anything from author Helen Oyeyemi before, but I have heard nothing but positive remarks from those who have.
I want to start off by noting that her writing is beautiful. She has a way with words that seems to set her apart from many others. Her writing style is truly unique, describing each scene fascinatingly and with graphic details.
The character background and development leave little left to be desired. The female protagonist Miranda was incredibly memorable with her pica disorder and constant struggles. We quickly discover enough about each character to understand the impact that the loss of Lily Silver and Miranda’s own afflictions have on them. Relationships between each character are established very clearly as we learn of the guilt Miranda’s brother Eliot suffers and the love her friend Ore develops for her.
With that being said, I am going to admit that White is For Witching became a bit confusing for me at some point. The narrative style jumps a lot. This is a story that is told through the eyes of each family member, a close friend of Miranda’s, and even the house. While the narration is intriguing, it left me feeling a bit confused at times as it would switch so frequently. I would find myself having to read several paragraphs in with each transition to decipher which character was now narrating the story. There was a lot of back and forth with no definitive shift in point of view. I am ashamed to admit, I was at a loss during points of this story. I am sure there are many of you who will find this much easier to read than I did.
The original setting of White Is For Witching occurs during the late 90’s in England. While each scene was beautifully described, at times it just became a struggle for me to relate the current time period to the events that were occurring. I feel that some of this may have been related to the narration from the house’s perspective and subplots that occurred within the story. I am sure that the fact that my reading time as of late has been well past the time I normally sleep factored in a bit to be fair.
I would have easily given this story a full 4 stars had I not found myself continually feeling misplaced and re-reading. Overall this story was haunting beautiful and charming within its own rights. The plot was truly original with touches of what felt like a fascinating, dark fairy tale. While difficult to read at times, it managed to keep me engrossed until the very end, which I might mention felt very complete. I would not hesitate to read another novel by Helen Oyeyemi. I would recommend White Is For Witching to fans of supernatural reads and those who enjoyed The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red.