Black Candle Women
Diane Marie Brown
Graydon House 2023
Author Diane Marie Brown’s novel, “Black Candle Women,” focuses on voodoo love curses, and their effect on a two generations of women. Her work was inspired by her research into the culture of her parents who grew up in Louisiana.
The main characters are women from the same family — the Montrose clan, cursed by Bela Nova, a New Orleans voodoo practitioner. The curse would leave “dead any person with whom a Montrose woman fell in love.”
… a glimpse into hoodoo practices and beliefs …
The Montrose women, Augusta, the grandmother, and her granddaughters, Victoria and Willow, had moved from New Orleans to California where they now lived a sheltered life with no men allowed in their lives. Augusta’s and Victoria’s husbands both suffered tragic deaths, adding to the credibility of the curse. Willow does chose to date men, but she avoids falling in love.
Their lives are tossed into turmoil when Victoria’s 17-year-old-daughter, Nickie, wants to date a boy named Felix. But Victoria wants to persuade Nickie to dislike Felix, so she turns to mixing hoodoo (hoodoo is the practice of voodoo) elixirs to accomplish her aim. Nickie meanwhile finds Victoria’s mixture book with the hoodoo recipes — “Bring Back a Lover,” “Too Bad Love Hex,” “Bend over Spell” — and starts devising her own concoctions.
Conflicting magic begins to swirl, generating a swarm of uncontrollable situations. The cascading events prompt Nickie to travel alone, to New Orleans, to attempt to break the curse.
Brown’s bewitching book offers a glimpse into hoodoo practices and beliefs, and her characters are indeed charming.