If you are looking for a light, fun read, It Takes a Witch, by Heather Blake, is an excellent choice. I got caught up in all sorts of life the past month or two and ended up going from reading three or four books a week to reading one in the last six weeks. I was astonished at myself. How could this have happened? Answer: lots of stress and lots of new games on my iPhone. I missed reading, but I felt like I needed something light to ease my way back in. While on an aimless ramble around Barnes & Noble, my eyes fell upon this:
It’s a mystery; I love mysteries. It’s got magic; I love magic. It’s got glitter on the cover. This bodes well for my desire for something light and fun.
It Takes a Witch is about Darcy Merriweather, a thirty-year-old divorcee, and her twenty-something sister Harper who have just come to live with their aunt in the Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts. Aunt Ve invited them to come live with her and start learning about the family business, As You Wish. As You Wish is a service that will do anything, from finding sold out tickets to organizing your pantry or pretending to be a tooth fairy for a little girl (who’s daddy has a big mouth). Most of the time they fulfill their clients’ wishes with a lot of legwork, but sometimes it all comes down to magic.
Shortly after they move to the village, their aunt’s boyfriend is arrested for killing the proprietor of Lotions and Potions, the village equivalent of the The Body Shop. Darcy gets to learn more about life in their village while trying to find out who the real killer is.
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this book. It has everything you would expect: small-town secrets, complications, a dash of romance, but it is also capable of surprising you too. A lot of these theme mysteries, where you know immediately that it is the start of a series focused on [coffee, interior design, knitting, whatnot] come off a little flat. They have about as much personality as cookie cutter houses all lined up in a row. It Takes a Witch, however, has a great cast of quirky characters, and the setting is absolutely charming. The Enchanted Village is a haven for magic users, who hide in plain sight as a tourist attraction in their magic-themed part of Salem. I am slightly pissed that it isn’t a real place, because I would totally go there on vacation.
One of the things that impresses me with this book is the magic. Very often, when magic plays a part in a mystery, the detective is using magic, so the bad guy uses magic to cover his/her tracks, so the detective has to use more magic to find them, and so on. It becomes all about the magic. In Blake’s world, magic has so many rules that it plays a fairly small role in the whodunnit. The Crafters each have a specialized skill. The Merriweathers are Wishcrafters who can grant wishes like a fairy godmother, and each special skill comes with its own rules and regulations. Wishcrafters, for instance, can’t grant their own wishes, nor can they encourage people to make wishes around them, it has to be a pure, spontaneous wish made in their presence for their magic to work. They also can’t let non-Crafters find out about the magic, lest they lose their powers, so seeing Darcy meet people and try to figure out who is who is a fun element of the story.
All in all, I give It Takes a Witch five out of five on the Bubblegum Scale. It is a wonderful choice for a light read and I will probably end up buying the next book when it comes out.