Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCulloughAlways a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always a Witch

byCarolyn MacCullough

Paperback | August 7, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info

$10.83 online 
$12.99 list price save 16%
Earn 54 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Since the gripping conclusion of Once a Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision-one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.
Carolyn MacCullough is the author of the young adult urban fantasy Once a Witch and three other YA novels. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has lived in Sicily, Scotland, and even the wilds of New Jersey before settling down in Brooklyn where she now lives with her husband and daughter. In addition to writing, she also teaches crea...
Title:Always a WitchFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.73 inPublished:August 7, 2012Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547721978

ISBN - 13:9780547721972


Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this story. I especially liked the feel of family tradition and adventure. At the end of the story, it left me wanting to know what happens next. To me, that is what a good book should be.
Date published: 2013-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page turner! I could not put this down. Tamsin Greene's story continues on from where Once A Witch ends. Again we see the sassy teenager must time travel, this time to save her family for future generations to come, all the while trying to protect her love Gabriel. There is a Dickensian flare interspersed in this story, which is at one point heart wrenching. MacCullough does not spare her readers. Definitely worth chronological order of course!
Date published: 2012-03-05

Read from the Book

Prologue I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might callit Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carryvarious Talents. Others might call it magic. Except for me. I alone in my family seemed to have no Talent. Nogift to shape me or to grant me a place in my family’s circlearound the altar to the four elements. All I had was theprophecy that my grandmother made to my mother in thefirst hour of my life. “Your daughter will be one of the mostpowerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beaconfor us all.” And then for reasons still unknown, my grandmotherspent the next seventeen years making sure I doubted thatprophecy at every turn. It took the return of an old familyenemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerouslove spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned threethings. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent toharm me. Second, I can absorb a person’s Talent if theyattempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparentlyhave a choice ahead of me. A choice that will explain themysterious workings of my grandmother’s mind and whyshe raised me in complete denial of my Talent. A choicethat’s vaguely hinted at in my family’s book. A choice thatwill fulfill the prophecy my grandmother made all thoseyears ago. Or destroy my family forever. A choice that will be so terrible to contemplate that I’djust rather not encounter it at all. One  “I look awful,” I say, staring at myself in frontof the dressing room mirror. The dress I have just struggledinto hangs like a shapeless tent down to my ankles.Okay, actually, it clings to the top half of me a little tootightly before suddenly dropping off into the aforementionedshapeless tent. And it’s gray. Not silver, not opalescentmist, as the tag promises. Gray. Concrete gray. My best friend, Agatha, scrunches her eyebrowstogether over her bright green eyeglasses as she examinesme from all angles. “You do look awful. Perfectly, awful infact,” she finally confirms. I stick my tongue out at her. Agatha loves the word perfectlyjust a little too much. “Yeah, well, that was probablyRowena’s intention all along,” I mutter, struggling to findthe zipper. The overhead lights of the narrow boutique aresuddenly too hot and glaring. “Here,” Agatha says, and with swift fingers she yanksthe zipper down. With a sigh of relief, I slip back into my jeans and floweredT-shirt, then steps into my fringed wedges that I foundin my favorite thrift store last week. I can’t resist them eventhough my ankles start to throb after more than five minutesof wearing them. “Why can’t you wear your rose dress?” Agatha asksagain as she arranges the hated gray tent back on its hanger.Rowena had pronounced it “ethereal” when she had beenin the city a few weeks earlier and had left me three messageson my cell to come to store “at once.” However, I neverpicked up the phone. Caller ID is one of the best inventionsout there. “Because Rowena wants silver. And what Rowenawants, Rowena gets.” “Bridezilla, huh?” “She gives new meaning to that term.” I refasten mypink barrettes to the side of my head, useless, I know, sincethey’ll be falling out in about three minutes. My curly hairdefies all devices invented to contain it. “Too bad,” Agatha says as we exit the dressing room.“That rose dress is so pretty and you never get to wear it.” “Yeah,” I say, keeping my expression noncommittal,while inwardly feeling the familiar pang. Oh, how I wish Icould tell Agatha that I already did wear it. I wore it whenGabriel and I Traveled back to 1939 to a garden party inmy family’s mansion on Washington Square Park in NewYork City. But if I told her that, I’d have to tell her who Ireally am. What I really am. And the truth is, I don’t knowwho or what I really am. For most of my life I thought I wasordinary. The black sheep who got stuck in a very extraordinaryfamily. Not until I left my hometown of Hedgerowand came to boarding school in Manhattan did I learn notto mind that so much. For the first time in my life, I wassurrounded by people who had no idea that just enoughpowdered mandrake root mixed with wine can make aman want to kiss you. But too much can make that sameman want to kill you. It felt good to be among people whothought I was just like them. It felt normal. I felt normal. Ifelt like one of them. And now that feeling is gone. And I can’t decide if I’mhappy or sad about that. I gaze at Agatha for a moment and contemplate howto tell her that I don’t really have a hippie crunchy granolakind of family, as she likes to think. Instead, I have a familyof witches who actively practice their Talents but whostill manage to live relatively obscure lives. I have a motherand grandmother who offer love spells, sleep spells, andspells for luck, good fortune, and health to the town residentswho come knocking on the back door after nightfalls when they can’t be seen by their neighbors. I have afather who controls the weather. A sister who can compelanyone to do anything just by mesmerizing them with thesound of her voice. My grandmother's sister who can freezesomeone where he stands just by touching his forehead. Aboyfriend who can find anything and anyone that’s missing.A whole bunch of other people I've been taught to call"uncle" or "aunt" or "cousin" who are all Talented in oneway or another. If I told Agatha any of that, she’d look at me like I wasspeaking in tongues. If I showed her that I could shoot firefrom my hands or freeze people into statues with one tap ofmy finger, she’d think I was a freakshow. Or worse, she’d be afraid of me. Agatha’s one of the first and relatively few people whomade me feel normal in my life. Back when I thought Ididn’t have a Talent at all, when I first came to boardingschool in Manhattan, it was okay omitting certain thingsabout my family life. It was okay to blur the line betweenthe truth and a lie. But now that I’ve discovered I do have aTalent after all, it feels harder. “So what are you going to do?” Agatha asks, breakinginto my headlong rush of thoughts. “What?” I blink at her until she flourishes the dressthrough the air. “Oh. I’m not buying that thing!” The saleslady who has been hovering around thedressing room apparently overhears me. She takes thedress back from Agatha, stroking it like she’s afraid its feelingsjust got hurt. Her long pink nose twitches once, reinforcingmy initial impression of a rabbit. “Well,” she says,her tone frosted over. “Your sister did say that was the oneshe wanted. She specifically asked me to put it aside for youeven though it’s really not our policy to do that here. Notfor more than twenty-four hours and it’s been three weeksalready.” The saleslady blinks a little as if suddenly wonderingwhy she did break store policy. I try not to roll my eyes. Apparently Rowena has wonover yet another heart. People seem to want to throw themselvesin front of speeding buses for Rowena. Part of herTalent and all. Not that she ever would abuse that. Oh, no. “You know, she is the bride after all. It’s really her day,”she says. “No kidding,” I reply sweetly. “She been reminding usall of that for three months now.” “Still,” the saleslady says, fluttering the hem at me.“I’m sure it looked lovely on you. Perhaps if you put on abit more rouge and—” The doorbell chimes softly and I look up to see Gabrielstepping into the store. Okay, I know it’s lame, but myheart still does this weird fluttery thing sometimes when Isee him. When the afternoon sunlight is hitting his cheekbonesthe way it is right now. When he smiles at me—thatsmile that makes me feel safe and not so safe at the sametime. When he gives me that look that spells out, I knowyou, Tamsin Greene. I know exactly who you are. Thankfully, someone does. I smile back and manage to pull my gaze away longenough to shake my head at the saleslady. “I’ll tell her itdidn’t fit me.” “Yeah, she was bursting out of it anyway,” Agatha addsin helpfully. She makes a motion toward my chest. “Really?” Gabriel says, interest streaking through hisvoice. “And that’s a bad thing?” Agatha bobs her head up and down. “You should haveseen how—” I clear my throat loudly. “Okay, thanks, everyone, butI think—” Just then the door opens again and another womanshoulders past Gabriel, a look of desperation on her face.She swings a little black purse by a tassled cord and I noticeGabriel take a step back to avoid getting hit in the jaw. “Doyou have the new Dolce Vita dress in purple? It has to bepurple. I’ve looked everywhere!” Instantly, the saleslady’s face assumes an expression ofsorrow. “No,” she whispers, her gaze wandering to a spotabove the woman’s shoulder as if eye contact is too muchto bear during this difficult moment. “I’m so sorry. We onlycarry the Dolce Baci line.” “Oh!” the woman gives a muffled little shriek. “No onehas this dress and I have to have—” “Try Lily Lucile on Spring Street,” Gabriel says helpfully.“They’re carrying it. The purple one that you want.” A small silence fills the room as all eyes land onGabriel. He turns his palms skyward, lifts his shoulders ina shrug. “Don’t ask me how I know that,” he murmurs.And then, “Ah, Tam, I’ll wait outside for you,” he says, andducks out. Dusk is falling by the time Gabriel’s front tires hit all theusual potholes of my family’s driveway. The house is blazingwith light and smoke tinges the air from tonight's bonfire,which I know is already burning behind the house.A small clump of my younger cousins chase each otheracross the snow-dusted meadow into the darkening woodsbeyond the house and fields. “How pastoral,” Gabriel says, grinning sidewaysat me. “Yeah, until you look closer,” I say, grinning back andleaning toward him. My seatbelt presses into my hip and Ifumble to undo it, then decide not to bother. Just then the air is split open. “Mother! I said I wantedpeonies, not posies. Posies are ridiculous in winter. Whoever heard of a bride carrying posies anyway?” Gabriel turns his head. “Are those Rowena’s dulcettones that I hear?” I shift back into my seat just as my sister storms aroundthe side of the yard, heading toward the house. The porchdoor opens and my mother steps out. She takes one lookat my sister’s face, then another look at my father, who istrailing Rowena, a bunch of yellow flowers drooping in hishand. “Mother,” Rowena yells again. “You need to explainsomething very important to my father.” She flings one armback to identify our father as if our mother is unclear on justwho this man might be. “You need to tell him that I am gettingmarried in three days. Three days and . . . Mother!” I grin. The porch door remains closed, but mid-diatribe,my mother has simply vanished. No doubt she’szoomed into another part of the house at her usual lightningspeed. Rowena skids to a stop, and for once her flaxen hairhas escaped from its perfect chignon. She whirls aroundand looks at my father, who shrugs and begins slowly backingup toward his greenhouse, probably wishing right aboutnow that he also possessed my mother’s Talent of movingat warp speed. Then Rowena pivots again, her gaze narrowingin on Gabriel’s car. “Tamsin,” she calls, her voice imperious as she startsdown the driveway. I sink down the length of my seat and begin picking ata tuft of foam that protrudes from a rip in the seat. “Piece of advice?” Gabriel offers, his eyes trackingRowena’s progress toward us. “Don’t tell her you didn’tbuy the dress.” As we step into the kitchen, carrying our bags, my mother,who is standing at counter, looks up with a startled expression.“Tamsin,” she says, her voice vibrating with relief.“And Gabriel,” she adds, and offers us both a smile beforeturning back to the heap of glittering silverware that’s piledon the counter. “You’re here.” She examines two butterknives, and then suddenly raises her head again like a huntedanimal to glance behind us. “Where’s Rowena?” shewhispers. “I froze her,” I say, setting down my backpack andstretching my arms to the ceiling. “She makes a great statuein the garden.” Gabriel snorts and ducks his head into the open refrigeratoras the knives slip from my mother’s grasp and crashback on the pile of silverware. “You did?” she asks, a noteof hope throbbing through her voice. Clearing her throat,she tries again. “I mean, you did what? You can’t just freezeyour sister.” I shrug. “It’ll wear off. In a week or two. Is there anythingto eat here?” I ask, and bump Gabriel with my hip asI join him at the fridge. We spend a few seconds in a shovingmatch as cold air billows in our faces. My mother makes a noise like a teakettle coming toboil. “Tamsin—” “Relax, Mom. I’m kidding,” I say, stepping back, endingthe fridge war. “She’s chewing Aunt Linnie’s ear off.Something about the tablecloths not being the right shadeof cream and how Aunt Linnie has to dye them again. Orthe will would come to an end…  

Editorial Reviews

Once A Witch A fantastic urban fantasy with an enchanting romance at its heart." - Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of City of Bones "Carolyn MacCullough casts a mesmerizing spell with Once a Witch. Family secrets and sibling rivalry, time-travel and magical 'Talents' all brew together to create a superlative - and supernatural - coming-of-age story. Add an epic battle of good versus evil and an enchanting first kiss and this bewitching novel commands a sequel." - Megan McCafferty, New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series"A light urban fantasy that goes down easy and will have readers asking for its sequel." - Kirkus Reviews Drawing the Ocean A New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age"MacCullough has a gift for using language with spectacularly evocative phrasing." - VOYA "MacCullough's subtle use of present tense and visually evocative writing create an eloquent portrait." - Kirkus Reviews "Sadie's narrative voice is absolutely authentic, and the story of her quirky, endearing relationship with Ryan is memorably poignant." - ALA Booklist Stealing Henry "MacCullough's dialogue is flawless. The journey is fascinating." - ALA Booklist, starred review"Finely crafted." - Kirkus Reviews "