Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown [Book Review]

Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown combines a family curse, a young woman in love, and generational trauma throughout the decades. Read my review.

Black Candle Women by author Diane Marie Brown is a generational story of women surviving trauma and surviving. When secrets from the past threaten the future of the youngest Montrose woman, the family must rally to save her. And, in the process, they must also save themselves. I gave the novel three out of five stars – read my review to find out why.

What is it about?

Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow—have lived together in their quaint two-story bungalow in California for years. They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them.

But when seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies.

For each member of the household, revealing this truth to Nickie also means reckoning with their own past choices and mistakes. And as new questions about long-held family beliefs emerge, the women are set on a collision course dating back to a voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter—where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love… []

My review:

In the novel Black Candle Women, five women from the same family confront their combined grief as a result of generational trauma. This novel had a lot of positive aspects. I particularly liked the bonds formed between the women who had experienced so much love and sorrow. However, there were some aspects of the novel that didn’t make sense, which detracted from my overall enjoyment.

I’ve never read anything by Diane Marie Brown before, but I’d definitely read more of her work in the future. Brown’s writing style kept me intrigued long enough for me to finish the book despite my average opinion of it. I wanted to know what would happen to Victoria, Williow, Augusta, Nickie, and Madelyn. Despite my difficulty with certain aspects of the story, the characters were well-written and intriguing. But, the plot struggled as the book went on. For example, the curse seemed less and less significant, which weakened the entire point of the novel.

My main complaint was that there was simply too much going on. The premise of a hoodoo-practicing family drew me to the novel in the first place, and since a curse dominated the narrative, I expected the plot to fully embrace the practice. However, it appeared that the author was never fully committed to that aspect, so all references to spells and wrongdoings from the past were less significant than they should have been. In addition, there were several pointless characters in the book, and many of the secondary plots that were supposed to complement the main plot instead detracted from it. Nonetheless, on a high level, it was a good story and a quick read. Would I recommend it to others? Let’s just say I’d recommend doing your own research before deciding whether or not this book is right for you.

Interview with Diane Marie Brown: