Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell
Anyone who’s been following Lily Ivory’s adventures as a witchy vintage dress shop owner who solves murders as a hobby has been looking forward to the tenth installment: Bewitched and Betrothed (2019).
As the title suggests, Lily is preparing for her wedding. The handfasting will be in a few days and Lily’s grandmother and her coven, as well as Lily’s mother, are in town. Of course, as readers have come to expect, nothing ever goes smoothly in Lily Ivory’s orbit. First, an old Alcatraz prisoner’s uniform has come into the shop, and Lily can sense the malice of the thing. Then the cousin of Carlos Romero (the friendly policeman) is kidnapped. These two events converge as Lily and her friends visit Alcatraz and try to solve the mysteries. There are some little romantic concerns, too, as usual. These will have to be taken care of before the day of the handfasting arrives.
Fans of the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES will enjoy Bewitched and Betrothed — it’s everything we expect from this series. Juliet Blackwell and Xe Sands (the fabulous narrator of Tantor Audio’s editions) have a good thing going with this series. The characters are easy to get attached to. Lily is likeable, her familiar (a gargoyle named Oscar) is adorable and funny, Lily’s boyfriend is the sexy silent type, and her friends make an excellent support system. I love that we get to learn something about San Francisco in each book. I learned quite a bit about Alcatraz in Bewitched and Betrothed.
Each WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES installment contains a stand-alone mystery, so the plot never gets dull. Blackwell ties the books together with a big-picture overarching plot that moves slowly. Lily, who was a newcomer to San Francisco in the first novel, is rising up in the magical community. Oscar is still looking for his mother (eventually something will happen with this, I’m sure) and, in this installment, finally shows his true self to Lily’s friends. The young drug addict who sits on the steps outside Lily’s shop is, thanks to Lily’s help, trying to get sober. We’re starting to get the sense that something big is on the horizon for the magical community of San Francisco.
I’ve been giving these books 4 stars, not so much because I think they’re better literature than the books I give 3.5 stars, but because Blackwell has done such a good job at maintaining the quality and keeping our interest over such a long time. That’s impressive.
I need to read some more in this series. I definitely appreciate a writer who can maintain high quality over a long series of books!
I would read this one just to see what she makes of Alcatraz.
I have to admit that I was surprised at how little I knew about Alcatraz.