Oscar Pellegrino is a brilliant yet deeply troubled fashion designer, plagued by constant doubt over his own abilities and a habit of sabotaging his own work. His final chance to succeed in the Italian fashion industry has been offered in the form a role at the fashion house of his old mentor, now headed by his driven, career focused ex girlfriend. Facing another crisis of confidence, Oscar flees to Russia, where a strange series of events lead to his discovery of the Sampo. Straight from the pages of Finnish folklore, the Sampo is a machine which can give you what you most desire...but at what price?
The title of Witchcraft Couture might conjure up ideas of a fairytale set in the world of fashion, and you'd partly be right. But this is only a fairytale in the old sense, when fairytales were sinister and mysterious and at times depraved, before they were censored and edited and made into children's stories. Witchcraft Couture is dark, very dark, and leaves you not quite knowing what is fantasy and what is reality.
The novel takes the form of Oscar's diary, which allows the story to be told entirely from his perspective, in the first person. I personally found this very effective, and the diary entries allow for short, quick to read chapters. Oscar is not easily likeable-he is temperamental, neurotic, and unrelenting in his judgement of himself and others-so telling the whole story in his voice was a bold choice, but it works. Spending so much time in the mind of this tortured genius also allows an empathy to develop for Oscar's character.
The author, Katarina West.
The story itself is intriguing and bewitching, and I found myself drawn into the novel, often for far longer than I had intended to be reading for. It is not a relaxing read by any means, with many twists and emotional highs and lows, along with an enduring sense of tension and unease built up over the course of the book. But West hooks the reader in from the very beginning, and adds layer upon layer of mystery, keeping the reader guessing right up to the final pages.
Even after I had finished Witchcraft Couture, the story stuck in my mind, and I caught myself musing on the events of the novel several times. This was a truly entrancing novel which I will not be forgetting in a hurry.
Witchcraft Couture is available to purchase as an ebook at amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, and Google Play. You can find out more about Katarina West at her website.
*Disclosure-I was given a free copy of Witchcraft Couture for review purposes. I was not paid to produce this review. All words and opinions are my own.*