I'm always a proponent of reading a series in order if you can. But, if you can't pick up earlier books in Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft mystery series, start with A Vision in Velvet. If you don't fall in love with Oscar, the gargoyle/potbellied pig, I'll be surprised. And, I suspect you'll be just as anxious as Lily Ivory when he goes missing.
Lily, the witch who owns Aunt Cora's Closet, a vintage clothing store in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury neighborhood, didn't really want the old trunk she purchased from Sebastian's Antiques. She could feel a strange energy coming from the gold velvet cape in the bottom of the trunk. But, the cape sent her into another time when she put it on, a time where she had a vision of a woman burned at the stake. Oscar, Lily's familiar, recognized it as a travel cloak, one able to take the wearer back in time. But, Lily only had a feeling of danger until she found Sebastian Crowley from Sebastian's Antiques, shot to death at the foot of a dying tree in Golden Gate Park. It was only when she went to investigate, and Oscar disappeared into the depths of the tree, that Lily realized the murder, the cloak, and the tree were all connected in some evil way.
Visions, poisons, nightmares, a travel cloak and Oscar's disappearance are all connected. Fortunately, the lone witch, once kicked out of her hometown in Texas, now has a network of friends to help her. When they rally to look for the missing pig, Lily realizes how far she has come. In her old life, she didn't have to worry about anyone else. "That was back before I had roots and a community. Back before I was embroiled so deeply that I'd do just about anything to keep my loved ones safe."
Why read Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft mysteries, and A Vision in Velvet in particular? These are intriguing mysteries, naturally. However, it's fascinating to see where Lily Ivory was, and how far she's come. Blackwell's witch has shown enormous growth over the course of this series, from a lonely woman, unsure of her powers, to a strong woman, bolstered by love and friendship, who is determined to save those most important to her. Blackwell blends vintage clothing, humor, an interesting corner of San Francisco life, a touch of romance, some powerful magic, and a history of witchcraft and women. A Vision in Velvet is just the latest captivating story in a bewitching series.
Juliet Blackwell's website is www.julietblackwell.net
A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell. Obsidian. 2014. ISBN 9780451240903 (paperback), 325p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.