Sunday, July 15, 2012

In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell's Lily Ivory continues to grow as a character and a powerful witch. Lily's life, loneliness, and feelings of obligation stick her in the middle of strange mysteries in the San Francisco area. Now, in the latest book in the Witchcraft mystery series, In a Witch's Wardrobe, Lily is forced to use more of her powers, at a time when it's becoming dangerous to be a witch.

As the owner of a vintage clothing store, Lily is still not perfectly comfortable attending the Art Deco Ball with Aidan Rhodes, a powerful witch. Even before she enters, she has a strange reaction to a woman who bumps into her. When Lily later finds the woman wearing a poisoned corsage while someone tries to wake her, Lily knows there's dangerous magic involved. Although Aiden warns her not to get involved, it's too late. Lily has seen the woman's spirit captured in a mirror, and she's determined to help. And, when her friend in the San Francisco Police Department asks her for help, and she learns another woman died from a sleeping sickness, there's no turning back.

Even as Lily asks friends in the community for help, someone is trying to shut down the stores owned by her friends. Flyers from DOM, Defenders of Morality, appear in shops. The group is opposed to New Age practices and witchcraft. Some shop owners are warned, while other shops are vandalized. And, Lily's questions in the community could make her a target.

In the course of this series, Lily Ivory has grown from a lonely woman, expelled from her Texas hometown, with a mother who doesn't speak to her. She has made friends through her shop, found others who practice witchcraft and magic. But, Lily still yearns for love and a normal family. Yet each time she takes action to help someone, her skills grow, while some of her friends can no longer accept her lifestyle. That contrast between love and magic is a powerful theme in this book.

Blackwell's In a Witch's Wardrobe has dark overtones, but it certainly has it's moments of humor. Oscar, Lily's familiar, the gargoyle who appears as a pot-bellied pig, is the source of much of it. Oscar keeps secrets, can be jealous and petty. At the same time, he's always hungry, loves movies that are scary or filled with action, and throws himself into the middle of a fight to save Lily.  This series wouldn't be half as much fun without Oscar.

In each book, Blackwell pits Lily Ivory, Oscar, and Lily's friends against forces of evil, magic out of control. Each book reveals more of Lily's background while she learns to use her powers to help others. The hints of future trouble from Lily's mysterious family only add to the appeal of her character and the books. In a Witch's Wardrobe is another engrossing story by an author with marvelous storytelling skills.

Juliet Blackwell's website is

In a Witch's Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell. Obsidian. 2012. ISBN 9780451237477 (paperback), 322p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


tati said...

I'm unfamiliar with this series, but it sounds intriguing. Though, isn't love a magick all its own?

Lesa said...

You have a point, Tati. This is a wonderful series.