This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on March 2, 2021
Shrouded in mystery, layered with humor, and a hard on her luck heroine with a wry sense of humor and a secret magical heritage- along with a corky side-kick, a sexy kilt-wearing handyman, a pizza-loving people-hating feline, a witch app, and quirky house named Percival- this first of a new urban fantasy series that lays the ground for a spectacular, magical series. Another boisterous, entertaining most magical of Urban Fantasies.
Defiance Dayne traveled across country in her old VW hoping the cryptic message from the lawyer about an out-of-the-blue inheritance is real. She can use some good luck after her husband divorced her and through her naivete and trust managed to inherit her prosperous restaurant and everything else. The only thing keeping her in sandwiches is her small Etsy business. The monstrosity that suits the Salem, Mass neighborhood it sits upon is most definitely hers and has a name, Percival.
Percival is a little shabby, but comes with a sweltering hot kilted handyman named Roan and his precocious cat Ink. Defiance falls in love with Percy and falls in lust with Roan right away and knows deep down that she can’t afford the upkeep and taxes on a house, but then she’s distracted by people coming to her with desperate requests to help her find stuff and people while other visitors welcome her like they know her. Her best friend arrives much to her relief, but Annette can only shrug her shoulders and keep her spirits up with their shared sense of humor. Even the police chief has heard of her. Small town quirks, she tells herself right up until she learns of a computer video file from the grandmother she never knew because her adoption and life across country with her dads in Arizona.
The message from her grandmother changes everything. A hidden family secret comes out- her- and she has a magical heritage that makes her something special. And, if she wants to survive long, now that her grans protection spell is gone with her death, then she needs to master her spellwork and cast her own protection spell. That is if she can keep her mind in the game what with all sorts of distractions from a kilted mystery man who makes her knees go weak, people needing help, an infernal ex, and worry about her non-existent bank account.
Betwixt was fun and funny, it sets up a new magical witch world, but at the same time it followed a tried and true formula much like the Charley Davison series. As I loved that series and miss it terribly, I was tickled pink to get all the commonalities.
The way the book unveiled the new world with Defiance getting most of the low down from her dead grandmother on the computer and occasional hints from Roan and the police chief, it felt like her whole life had been a mystery that she has to get to know. She goes from being beaten down, penniless, newly divorced middle-aged and average to a witch with powers that are unique and dangerous because she is a rare kind of witch.
Much of the first half of the book was introductory in a comedic way though all the interruptions just as she was finally learning what was going on stretched my patience, but the second half got into the action as Defiance stepped up and got busy with her spellwork and used it to work out some mysteries. The second half brought some staggering reveals and one just as the book ended so I was left gaping and glad the second book is already released.
Traci Odom is not a new to me narrator. I’ve enjoyed her work before. I liked the way she played up to the humor and the style of the writing. She has an understated way until the emotions really roil over and then she takes it up a notch or two so that the listener is captivated. I’ll enjoy anticipating her further work on the series.
All in all, I am enchanted by the start of this new series and can’t wait to see what comes next for Defiance and her quirky gang of characters. I’m calling this Urban Fantasy, but it also felt a little like a paranormal cozy mystery, too, so I’ll recommend it to those who like either or both.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for providing a copy of the book to listen to in exchange for an honest review.
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