Title: Witched! The Spellbinding Life of Cora Bell
Author: Rebecca McRitchie, illustrated by Sharon O’Connor
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Published: 2nd September 2021
Synopsis: From the talented author of Whimsy and Woe comes the final title in the series about Cora, an orphan who could be magical!
The final fight against magic …
Cora Bell is racing against time. With her beloved guardian, Dot, badly injured, Cora must face fearsome werewolves, gross beetle worms and a vengeful warlock in order to save her.
But as questions about her long-lost parents arise, Cora and her fairy friends begin a search for the one person who might hold all the answers. The one person who disappeared the same night Cora’s parents did …
Will Cora finally discover the truth about her family? Or will the evil syphon return to finish what he started, and destroy Cora once and for all?
The thrilling conclusion to the magical Cora Bell series.
Cora Bell is back, on seeking to help Dot, her guardian, get better. Yet there is more to her quest with the fairies, Tick and Tock than meets the eye, as Cora finds out that there is more to past and family than she previously knew. Plagued by questions about her parents, Cora sets out on a journey to find them – if she can, and defeat Kaede. As Cora searches for the one person with answers, she begins to wonder if she can defeat Kaede and find her family – and what it will mean when she does.
The Cora Bell series comes to an end with this third book, and all the threads from the first two books come together neatly, to create a succinct, tight, and well-thought plot that has a disabled character at the centre of the plot – looking for family and her identity, and shown as a powerful character in her own right, a character who represents good and whose presence shows that disabled characters can be done well without pity, and where the disability, whilst part of them, does not preclude them from having a vibrant personality or distinct plot that creates tension and everything that other characters get in other stories, so this can show kids and all readers that all experiences and characters and people are valid in the world and stories.
I loved the way this all came together, and the way Tick and Tock have stuck by Cora since book one, showing what loyalty and friendship can do and how they can help drive a story just as much as a family centred relationship, or enemies. It is powerful because it illustrates that we can be ourselves and people can and will accept us. It is also a timeless story – fantasy or magical realism stories these days seem to have a nice sense of timelessness – they don’t belong to a specific time, and are not tied to modern days with mentions of technology that moves and changes so fast, it can feel hard to write modern and contemporary stories at times, for fear of your story being outdated. This is the beauty of Cora Bell -I didn’t feel like anything about it was outdated, and it could become one of many beloved series that children adore in years to come.
A wonderful conclusion to a fun series!