Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Small Town, Big Magic

Small Town, Big Magic
  Small Town, Big Magic
Author:  Hazel Beck
Publication Information:  Graydon House. 2022. 416 pages.
ISBN:  1525804715 / 978-1525804717

Rating:  ★★★

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "If you google my name - something I only do every other Tuesday because ego surfing is an indulgence and I keep my indulgences on a strict schedule - the first twenty hits are about the hanging of Sarah Emerson Wilde in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts."

Favorite Quote:  "But I have always believed that a woman's best and biggest champion should be herself. The world sure isn't going to step up and cheer on its own."

This is book one of two of the Witchlore series. The book is captioned "a witchy rom-com." which tells you a lot about a book. Let's take that apart. The book is definitely witchy, with an entire town centered around witchy. In fact, the book is more about witches, their covens, the rituals, and their enemies than it is a rom-com.

The book has elements of a rom-com. The small town of St. Cyprian, Missouri is one where everyone knows everyone's business except for our heroine Emerson Wilde. At the start of the book, she is completely clueless about how unique St. Cyprian is and how unique she is. A charming, sometimes clueless witch as heroine is another box checked. The fact that she is a bookstore owner is an added bonus. A childhood friend who can be by turns a friend and annoying and may be more than a friend brings in a little bit of romance. A cast of varied small town characters who surround Emerson almost complete the picture.

For good measure, all that is now being threatened by an enemy. That keeps the focus of the book on the magical realism and the coven of witches rather than the tangential romance - more witchy than rom-com. For me, that focus makes it a more entertaining read.

So, the plot goes that Emerson runs a bookstore in St. Cyprian, is the President of the Chamber of Commerce, and is happy in her life surrounded by friends and family. However, things are not as they seem and not as Emerson knows them to be. Strange things begin to happen, and stranger yet are the things that Emerson is able to do. It turns out there is lot of Emerson does not know, but she needs to come up to speed in a hurry because danger lurks and is imminent.

So goes the adventure of conflicting covens embedded in a charming small town. The ending does leave openings, and clearly there is a book two. Am I charmed enough to read book two? Possibly, but this book is not memorable enough for me to retain the details. So, by the time I get around to book two, will I be charmed enough to reread book one to remember the details? Possibly not. Nevertheless, a fun - if forgettable - read that could have stopped at witchy with no need of the romance for entertainment.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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