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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: October 5th, 2021

304 Pages

Synopsis: darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true, from the author of The Return.

All her life, Annie has played it nice and safe. After being unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, Annie seeks a fresh start. She accepts a teaching position that moves her from Manhattan to a small village upstate. She’s stunned by how perfect and picturesque the town is. The people are all friendly and warm. Her new apartment is dreamy too, minus the oddly persistent spider infestation.

Then Annie meets Sophie. Beautiful, charming, magnetic Sophie, who takes a special interest in Annie, who wants to be her friend. More importantly, she wants Annie to stop apologizing and start living for herself. That’s how Sophie lives. Annie can’t help but gravitate toward the self-possessed Sophie, wanting to spend more and more time with her, despite the fact that the rest of the townsfolk seem…a little afraid of her. And like, okay. There are some things. Sophie’s appearance is uncanny and ageless, her mansion in the middle of the woods feels a little unearthly, and she does seem to wield a certain power…but she couldn’t be…could she? (Goodreads)

I enjoyed Rachel Harrison’s The Return, so Cackle has been one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and I’m pleased to say that it surpassed my expectations.

Annie spends a good portion of the book dealing with the breakup of her long term relationship with Sam. Some readers may be put off by her wallowing in misery and insecurities, but having gone through something similar, I completely understood the process she went through. Balancing her tendency to rely on alcohol to numb her pain, is her sharp sense of humor which had me laughing out loud more than once. Slowly, over the course of the story, she comes to realize who she wants to be, and I loved watching her journey of self-discovery. Sophie, while seemingly confident and self-possessed, has her own insecurities underneath which come out near the end of the book, but for the most part she turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to Annie.

The story itself is scarce on scares, but full of charm, whimsy, and black comedy. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Ralph the adorable spider has cured my arachnophobia! Seriously though, Cackle is deliciously wicked and fun, and I easily gobbled it up in one sitting. While the ending wraps everything up, in my humble opinion there’s also plenty of material for another book and I’m hoping Rachel Harrison will revisit the small town of Rowan, its inhabitants, and Annie and Sophie. This is coming out the beginning of October which is wonderful because it’s an ideal read for the Halloween season!