Jane Boyle works in Paris where she is an architect. She grew up in rural France, in Alsace, with her Grandmother, after her parents died in a car crash when she was only a baby. After a whirlwind romance in Paris, she falls in love with Malcolm Doran, a very handsome, highly successful man. He proposes to her, and she accepts and sets off for New York City to make a new life there with him. She visits her Grandmother who she hasn't seen for many years, and who was always very overprotective of her, intending to share her good news before she leaves France, but sadness awaits her. Before leaving, Jane finds a note to her from her Grandmother, as well as an unusual ring, revealing something quite amazing and magical about herself and her past; something that explains some of the mysterious happenings she has experienced previously in her life which she hadn't been able to explain. 'She 'had power', but she didn't know how to use it - or how not to use it.'
Jane sets off with high hopes for her new start; it seems like a 'fairy-tale romance with a modern-day prince', despite the new knowledge about herself that now weighs her down. When she meets the rest of the Doran family at 666 Park Avenue though, she realises how wealthy and revered they are in New York City, and she also discovers they have some secrets of their own. Jane has trepidations about fitting in with the family, having come from a humble background herself, and now finding she is joining a New York society family. Then she discovers more about their past, and who they really are, and then the trouble really starts for Jane. If she thinks that the wedding planning is being taken out of her hands rather a lot, how will she cope knowing that Lynne, her mother-in-law to-be is none other than 'the wicked witch of the Upper East Side.'?
After first 'trying to ignore it in the hope that it would go away', as she learns more about those around her, and sees magic happen, Jane starts to try and understand her power and discover what her magical skills might be, where they originate from, and how she can control them. She finds herself rather swamped by the domineering Doran's, Lynne in particular, and I was willing her to assert herself and try and find the strength to stand up to them more sometimes early on in the story. But she discovers the dark history of witches and witchcraft within the family, the city and beyond, and eventually acts as she realises the truth about her new life and her situation. I felt for her in her new home, as she realised the plans they, and Lynne especially, had in store for her, and the expectations placed on her that were so far removed from the life she had known in Paris.
The house, 666 Park Avenue itself, comes across as being a spooky place, populated by the enigmatic, powerful Doran family; people appear suddenly and make you jump, there are secrets locked away, and the house is almost a character in its own right as it features strongly in the book.
I found this an exciting, fun and entertaining story which builds to a thrilling finish. There is romance to enjoy, glamour in the New York locations and fashions, and of course, magic! This is perfect if you are looking for something light-hearted and diverting to read, whether for reading over summer or alternatively curling up with on a cold dark night. As someone who doesn't read very many paranormal type novels, this felt like a good introduction for me to this genre, as it wasn't overly heavy on this element, but there was enough, for me, to make the story into a magical one. I would say this is more of an adult, or older young adult read than a young adult book due to some of the content.