Monday, June 14, 2010

A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

Somehow, Juliet Blackwell manages to combine witches, vintage clothing, history, humor, romance, murder, and a serious evil threat in a marvelous story, A Cast-Off Coven. This isn't a lighthearted cozy witchcraft mystery. It's a story with a great deal of depth.

Lily Ivory was introduced in Secondhand Spirits, a story that took place just a few months before A Cast-Off Coven. After a troubled youth, and a period traveling the world, the witch has settled in San Francisco where she owns a vintage clothing shop, Aunt Cora's Closet. And, in the short time she's lived there, she's gathered a group of friends, a small coven of witches, the art student who works for her, a powerful male witch, the reporter she's interested in, and, of course, her familiar foisted on her by Aiden Rhodes. Oscar, the goblin who takes the form of a miniature pot-bellied pig, adds the humorous touches to the story.

And, Lily's life could use a little humor right now. The students at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, including Lily's employee, Maya, are complaining of noises, and a ghost. Lily isn't really in the psychic business. As she says, she's "One bona fide witch who could not communicate with the dead, much less with the undead, if her life depended on it." But she's willing to check out the school in exchange for a trunk of Victorian-era clothing found in a closet. Lily finds much more than a trunk in that closet. Someone has been messing with magic, and there's a strong presence of evil that's hanging over the third floor and that closet. When a man dies from a tumble down the stairs in that building, it's hard to know if it was murder, or magic.

Lily may have to call on her friends for help, including a homicide detective who questions why she's been in town for three months, and involved in two suspicious deaths. And, she might run her chance for romance with the reporter, Max, by taking responsibility for dealing with the forces at the school. But, a witch who has never had a home, now has friends and allies who need her, and she's determined to shoulder her responsibilities as a powerful witch.

Secondhand Spirits was an excellent introduction to Lily Ivory. But, A Cast-Off Coven shows a witch who is growing in power, and friendship. Blackwell is writing a series that manages to demonstrate the best of genreblending, filled with fascinating characters and a good mystery, but adding magic, romance, and, even some fascinating history of San Francisco. A Cast-Off Coven is genreblending at its best.

Note: Juliet Blackwell will be appearing at the Velma Teague Library for Authors @ The Teague on June 24 at 2 p.m. as part of the panel, Women Who Kill.

Juliet Blackwell's website is

A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell. Penguin Group(USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780451230492(paperback), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author, and the publisher, both sent me books in hopes I would review it.


Kay said...

This is definitely a series made for me. I've got the first one on my Kindle and am going to pick up the second one soon. Thanks for sharing, Lesa!

Lesa said...

Love this series, Kay. It's serious, but has it's humorous side at the same time. Great cast of characters, and the second book is even better than the first.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds fantastic! I'll definitely be checking this one out. Thanks for the tip, Lesa!

Lesa said...

It is terrific, Elizabeth. I hope you like it!

le0pard13 said...

This sounds like a fun novel (and series), Lesa. Great review, my friend.

Brad Parks said...

As an occasional partner in crime at conferences, I can also add: Juliet is fun to hang out with! Thanks for the great review, Lesa.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Michael! Any compliment from you is very much appreciated. It is a fun series, but it certainly has its serious side as well.

Lesa said...

Hi Brad!

Thanks for stopping by. And, I'll get the chance to hang out with Juliet, Sophie Littlefield, Zoe Sharp & Jeanne Matthews on the
24th. This should be fun!

Kris said...

So glad you enjoyed the 2nd in the series. The first is still on my wish list..maybe if I can manage to get a lot of the books I already own read this year, I can celebrate by buying more for next year. lol!

Lesa said...

They were both good, Kris, but the second is the best. I know what you mean about those TBR piles!