Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Sanctuary by V.V. James – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Five stars


RELEASE DATE:  August 2019

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Format: Paperback

Pages: 452

RRP:  AU$32.99



The small Connecticut town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback.

Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker?

As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching . . .





Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of Sanctuary, in exchange for an honest review.


Sarah is the witch in the town of Sanctuary.  Together with her three non-magical best friends, they are a coven who help people in their small town with their problems.  All of their children have grown up together as friends, but as they are sharing an evening dinner, while their kids attend a party, they receive devastating news.  Dan, the popular,  promising athlete has died at the party.  As accusations start to fly, Sarah’s daughter is accused of murdering him by witchcraft, despite Sarah knowing her daughter has no magic.  As the town’s fear and wild theories grow, secrets start to unravel and Maggie, the police officer sent to Sanctuary to investigate, quickly realises the case is anything but straightforward.

When I first read the synopsis of this one, I wasn’t sure whether it would be my cup of tea – I was attracted by the magic and mystery, but  at the mention of ‘star quarterback, I feared it would be another American high school drama – something I tend to avoid like the plague.  So I was shocked when I was hooked from the first page and my concerns were completely unfounded!

Sanctuary was a thrilling read and incredibly tense. The way the town was so quick to condemn Sarah, the witch who they’d always relied on for help, and her daughter was more terrifying than any usual murder mystery. I think it highlighted really well the way fear of something unusual can simmer just under the surface, and it only takes a mob mentality to send it spiralling out of control. The sense of being unable to prove the allegations being thrown against them were untrue, or misunderstood, was palpable.  It made me feel panicked and I was on the outside of the book!  The story alternates points of view between Sarah, her daughter Harper, some of the other parents and the detective on the case, so we’re treated to lots of snippets and conflicting stories as the mystery grows.

The end had me saying “Oooooh” and that’s how I love book endings to be!  The media release described this book as Big Little Lies meets the Craft and I think that was a very apt description!  Definitely pick this one up if you love small town mysteries, witches and deceptive stories!




Photo from my Instagram account


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