Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBewitched 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.Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviews

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.

Published in June 2019. A supernatural force on the loose in San Francisco and a family reunion keeps witch and vintage storeowner Lily Ivory on her toes as she prepares to walk down the aisle… When Lily Ivory stumbles on the uniform of a former prisoner from Alcatraz and SFPD inspector Carlos Romero’s cousin is kidnapped, Lily suspects something dangerous has been unleashed on the ghost-ridden island of Alcatraz. She’ll have to sleuth out the culprit—when she’s not busy entertaining her visiting relatives and resolving romantic conflicts as her wedding date approaches. Could recent omens be pointing to the magical threat in her adopted city? If so, she’ll have to line up her allies to change the fate of the Bay Area. Because no matter what, Lily’s determined to celebrate her marriage with her friends by her side—even if it means battling a demonic foe before she can make it to the altar.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.