Always a Witch

by Carolyn MacCullough

In the satisfying conclusion to the story begun in Once a Witch, Tamsin is forced to follow enemy Alistair Knight back to Victorian-era New York in order to save her family, and finds herself at the center of the fray as the evil Knight family and her own square off in a thrilling display of action and magic.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547721972
  • ISBN-10: 0547721978
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 08/07/2012
  • Carton Quantity: 24

About the book

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.

About the author
Carolyn MacCullough

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 creative writing at NYU and The New School. Visit her website at



I was born on the night of Samhain. Others might call

it Halloween. Born into a family of witches who all carry

various Talents. Others might call it magic.

 Except for me.

 I alone in my family seemed to have no Talent. No

gift to shape me or to grant me a place in my family’s circle

around the altar to the four elements. All I had was the

prophecy that my grandmother made to my mother in the

first hour of my life. “Your daughter will be one of the most

powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon

for us all.”

 And then for reasons still unknown, my grandmother

spent the next seventeen years making sure I doubted that

prophecy at every turn. It took the return of an old family

enemy, two episodes of time travel, and one very dangerous

love spell that nearly killed my sister before I learned three

things. First, I can stop anyone from using their Talent to

harm me. Second, I can absorb a person’s Talent if they

attempt to use it against me three times. Third, I apparently

have a choice ahead of me. A choice that will explain the

mysterious workings of my grandmother’s mind and why

she raised me in complete denial of my Talent. A choice

that’s vaguely hinted at in my family’s book. A choice that

will fulfill the prophecy my grandmother made all those

years ago.

 Or destroy my family forever.

 A choice that will be so terrible to contemplate that I’d

just rather not encounter it at all.


 “I look awful,” I say, staring at myself in front

of the dressing room mirror. The dress I have just struggled

into hangs like a shapeless tent down to my ankles.

Okay, actually, it clings to the top half of me a little too

tightly before suddenly dropping off into the aforementioned

shapeless tent. And it’s gray. Not silver, not opalescent

mist, as the tag promises. Gray. Concrete gray.

 My best friend, Agatha, scrunches her eyebrows

together over her bright green eyeglasses as she examines

me from all angles. “You do look awful. Perfectly, awful in

fact,” she finally confirms.

 I stick my tongue out at her. Agatha loves the word perfectly

just a little too much. “Yeah, well, that was probably

Rowena’s intention all along,” I mutter, struggling to find

the zipper. The overhead lights of the narrow boutique are

suddenly too hot and glaring.

 “Here,” Agatha says, and with swift fingers she yanks

the zipper down.

 With a sigh of relief, I slip back into my jeans and flowered

T-shirt, then steps into my fringed wedges that I found

in my favorite thrift store last week. I can’t resist them even

though my ankles start to throb after more than five minutes

of wearing them.

 “Why can’t you wear your rose dress?” Agatha asks

again as she arranges the hated gray tent back on its hanger.

Rowena had pronounced it “ethereal” when she had been

in the city a few weeks earlier and had left me three messages

on my cell to come to store “at once.” However, I never

picked up the phone. Caller ID is one of the best inventions

out there.

 “Because Rowena wants silver. And what Rowena

wants, Rowena gets.”

 “Bridezilla, huh?”

 “She gives new meaning to that term.” I refasten my

pink barrettes to the side of my head, useless, I know, since

they’ll be falling out in about three minutes. My curly hair

defies 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 I

could tell Agatha that I already did wear it. I wore it when

Gabriel and I Traveled back to 1939 to a garden party in

my family’s mansion on Washington Square Park in New

York City. But if I told her that, I’d have to tell her who I

really am. What I really am. And the truth is, I don’t know

who or what I really am. For most of my life I thought I was

ordinary. The black sheep who got stuck in a very extraordinary

family. Not until I left my hometown of Hedgerow

and came to boarding school in Manhattan did I learn not

to mind that so much. For the first time in my life, I was

surrounded by people who had no idea that just enough

powdered mandrake root mixed with wine can make a

man want to kiss you. But too much can make that same

man want to kill you. It felt good to be among people who

thought I was just like them. It felt normal. I felt normal. I

felt like one of them.

 And now that feeling is gone. And I can’t decide if I’m

happy or sad about that.

 I gaze at Agatha for a moment and contemplate how

to tell her that I don’t really have a hippie crunchy granola

kind of family, as she likes to think. Instead, I have a family

of witches who actively practice their Talents but who

still manage to live relatively obscure lives. I have a mother

and grandmother who offer love spells, sleep spells, and

spells for luck, good fortune, and health to the town residents

who come knocking on the back door after night

falls when they can’t be seen by their neighbors. I have a

father who controls the weather. A sister who can compel

anyone to do anything just by mesmerizing them with the

sound of her voice. My grandmother's sister who can freeze

someone where he stands just by touching his forehead. A

boyfriend 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 one

way or another.

 If I told Agatha any of that, she’d look at me like I was

speaking in tongues. If I showed her that I could shoot fire

from my hands or freeze people into statues with one tap of

my 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 who

made me feel normal in my life. Back when I thought I

didn’t have a Talent at all, when I first came to boarding

school in Manhattan, it was okay omitting certain things

about my family life. It was okay to blur the line between

the truth and a lie. But now that I’ve discovered I do have a

Talent after all, it feels harder.

 “So what are you going to do?” Agatha asks, breaking

into my headlong rush of thoughts.

 “What?” I blink at her until she flourishes the dress

through the air. “Oh. I’m not buying that thing!”

 The saleslady who has been hovering around the

dressing room apparently overhears me. She takes the

dress back from Agatha, stroking it like she’s afraid its feelings

just got hurt. Her long pink nose twitches once, reinforcing

my initial impression of a rabbit. “Well,” she says,

her tone frosted over. “Your sister did say that was the one

she wanted. She specifically asked me to put it aside for you

even though it’s really not our policy to do that here. Not

for more than twenty-four hours and it’s been three weeks

already.” The saleslady blinks a little as if suddenly wondering

why she did break store policy.

 I try not to roll my eyes. Apparently Rowena has won

over yet another heart. People seem to want to throw themselves

in front of speeding b...


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