Darcy Merriweather is a wishcrafter - a witch who can grant wishes (following certain rules and guidelines of course). Darcy and her sister, Harper, didn't know about their Crafting heritage until their father died and their aunt showed up, inviting them back to Enchanted Village, a magical, quirky section of Salem, Massachusetts where tourists can enjoy pretending magic is real. Little do they know, it is
Darcy and Harper are just getting used to their new home when one of the locals is killed and Aunt Ve's beau is arrested for the crime. Darcy will have to juggle her work, learning the rules of her Craft and her feelings for a man who keeps popping up in her life while she sleuths to find the real killer.
I loved this story! There's great depth to Darcy between her family history, her divorce and her powers. She's someone I would be friends with - she feels real, three-dimensional and interesting. The cast of characters around her are fun and distinct - it wasn't hard to keep track of who's who. The setting is quirky and provides plenty of opportunities for new stories. The world building with the paranormal piece (which isn't usually a factor in your normal cozy mystery) was exceptionally well done - clear and evident rules, but they are doled out bit by bit to keep you reading and there's plenty more to still be revealed later. The further I get from this book, the more I realize the stand-out job the author did on developing the framework for this world.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Recommended for/Cautions: I feel like I have to combine these two sections for this book. Paranormal stories have been growing in popularity over the past few years - vampires, werewolves, fairies, wizards, and yes, witches. If you love paranormals and mysteries, try this book!
I have mixed feelings about paranormals. I don't like vampires, but I do read some werewolf stories. Generally, I avoid the witch-y ones, too. The Bible is pretty clear that Christians should avoid witchcraft explicitly. The premise of this one didn't seem like the usual witch-y sort of stuff that I try to avoid, so I gave it a try. While I was thoroughly enjoying this story, I was wondering if I shouldn't be or if I should be feeling guilty. It has some of the traditional trappings of witch-y stories - familiars, magic, etc. But this had a different feel. The "Crafters" can generally do just one sort of magic and generally for positive purposes only (again, nice world-building by the author with the rules of the Crafts). Frankly, if the exact same story had been written where Darcy was a fairy or some other character who could grant wishes instead of a witch - something it easily could have been and the story would have still worked - I would have enjoyed it without second thoughts at all.
So, if you are wondering if you should read this mystery in light of your faith, follow your conscience. I know the question of what we support with our dollars has been a big one in the last couple months. There's another cozy mystery series that I read that did a witchcraft book, and it felt icky, so I avoided it. Another series was too dark and creepy and felt too occultish, so I stopped reading it. I've decided, for now, that I'm okay with taking this series one book at a time. The content did not raise any flags for me, and I am really looking forward to reading book two, A Witch Before Dying.