In book two of the Magical Bakery Mystery series, Savannah baker and hedge witch, Katie Lightfoot, has her lovely afternoon picnic with her good friend Declan McCarthy disrupted by police. After she has discovered the body of a Druid lying under a rhododendron bush in the middle of town.
Discovering writers and series that you would not have picked up before is what reading challenges are especially good for. This is more than confirmed for me as I get to revisit Bailey Cates' wonderfully witchy cozy. I did not pick up her first book in the series, Brownies and Broomstick, but I am adding that to my post-challenge reading list.
Poor Katie Lightfoot! Not only did she find a dead Druid, but she ends up crossing paths, and magical swords, with the head Druid himself. She and her coven members have to keep their craft secret even while they all work with her to find out how the man died. They have to keep out of danger and under the radar of a witchhunter. And she has to do this all while negotiating the romantic rivalry between two men she wants to trust: one a witch, one blissfully not.
Characters--I found the characters charming. But they are Southern and should be charming, right? The bad guys are properly sinister. No, really scary. I don't like witchhunters and Cates' done a good job of making sure I don't change my mind. I like her juxtapositions of real world occupations with supernatural.
Worldbuilding--there is not much world to build in the world of Katie Lightfoot. She lives in Savannah Georgia. We get a sense of historical place and life among Southern friends.
Fresh Factor--There is a lightness to the story, in spite of the seriousness of the situation. Katie's familiar is a dog. A Cairn terrier to be exact. Having a small, purse-sized dog for a familiar... and running a bakery... That's a tricky couple of things to manage for anyone. I found myself looking forward to Katie's time with Mungo.
Pros and Cons--Whenever Cates introduced an idea that I might consider a con, she takes it and turns it gently in a direction that I find myself cheering. One of my favorite scenes is the art show. Cates expresses some interesting ideas about art.
Overall I am looking forward to reading more of Katie Lightfoot's story. I"m giving the novel ****1/2 stars. Not five? There is much that I expect from a cozy mystery and Cates has provided it, but nothing that surprising. The witch part of the story is fun and flows. I'm just saving that last half star for something that makes me go, "Whoa!"
Meanwhile, here are books one and three!
What have you read that makes you go, "Whoa!" What speculative fiction cozies have you read?