Reluctantly Charmed is the tale of Kate McDaid, your average working class girl from Dublin. She is single, quite happy being so and has been a junior copywriter for five years without a flicker of promotion. Kate is in a life rut and although she knows it’s time to take the next step, she doesn’t know quite where to. She is happy most of the time, treading water at her safe, uneventful job, having cups of tea with mam and dad, stuffing her face with Starshoot bars and having the odd wine fuelled night out with the girls. Life for Kate is pretty average until a registered letter arrives in the mail.

Kate had been tracked down by the local solicitor and this is where the mundane meets magical. It turns out Kate is the benefactor of a will left by a far distant relative, who was also a self proclaimed witch! She has no idea of the size of the estate, in fact there is no sign of money at all (yet), just a series of weird Irish poems about fairies. All Kate has to do is post one poem a week online until all seven are published and then she can claim her estate. A no brainer, yes? From the very first post on a little used website, life changes for Kate, but is it a life she wants?

I know, I know, a book about fairies, come on Jo this just won’t work! I get what you are saying as I felt the same when it was placed in my hands, but with an open mind I turned the first few pages and I was in. Was it because I love anything Irish? Maybe it was, but the book has such a positive spirit and it was that which drew me in and kept me there. Ellie has also made Kate McDaid incredibly real with a cracking sense of humour which added weight and balance to the magical, fairy element along with a cast of well rounded supporting characters.

Books about vampires, wizards and werewolves fly off of shelves, so why should one about fairies be so different? The word ‘fairy’ conjures up all kinds of feelings and assumptions, which may put some people off, but it shouldn’t. Forget Disney, sugar coated fairies and take a peek into the world of the Irish folklore fairies who don’t wear frilly tutu’s and certainly don’t make all your wishes come true. I say give this book a chance. You will learn about Irish superstition, folklore and traditions which are still widely believed today. There is also a good sprinkle of Irish charm, a plot which keeps you turning the pages and all up a thoroughly enjoyable read.


There have been references to Bridget Jones made about Reluctantly Charmed, but I don’t see it really. Kate McDaid doesn’t seem to have any hangups about weight issues and is more than happy living her life the way she wants without chasing a man or making poor life choices. She is smart, spots an idiot pretty quickly most of the time and there are no daily weigh in’s or cigarette counting diary entries to be found here. Just a really fun read and a fabulous first book from Ellie O’Neil.

The book cover is beautiful and would make a wonderful, heartfelt gift to any girlfriend or mum that needs cheering up a bit and if you fancy a giggle or a positive start to the day as you read on your daily commute, this won’t fail you. Just remember to keep an eye out for those guys with coldsores!


Reluctantly Charmed is available at :
Book kindly provided for review by Simon & Schuste