I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I can't read the books in this series without Disney popping into my head.
NOT the cartoons/animations. Well, actually, as I write this, I'm thinking yes, Cinderella. Also Mary Poppins, and That Darn Cat. The premise is a tiny bit silly, but so endearing and the writing is so well done.
The series setting is the tourism-driven Enchanted Village populated by Crafters. Crafters are witches, but each is limited to a specific skill set (this is where some of the silly comes in - for example, one witch is a lawcrafter; his magic is specific to law. Huh?) Darcy, the MC, learned she was a wishcrafter after her father died; she and her sister have moved to the Enchanted Village to live with their aunt and learn their craft.
Short summary of The Goodbye Witch:
Darcy’s closest friend and fellow witch, Starla Sullivan, hoped she’d never see her ex-husband, Kyle, again. Two years ago he tried to kill her, and he has been a fugitive ever since. Now Starla claims to have seen him back in Enchanted Village, but it seems she’s the only one who can see him. To everyone else, her ex is invisible.
Since the police can’t arrest someone they can’t see, it’s up to Darcy to find the secret behind Kyle’s latest disappearing act—before he does something they can’t see coming….
Heather Webber (aka Heather Blake), in my opinion, can't write a bad book and I'd use this series as the perfect example. When I first read the premise of the series, it was so cute it made my teeth ache. But I am a huge fan of her Lucy Valentine series, vowed to give these new books a chance and thoroughly enjoyed them all. This one is her best yet.
I could talk about each of the characters individually, but Heather Blake does her best at writing ensemble casts; each is likeable on their own, but they shine as a group. Their whole is greater than the sum of their parts, so to speak. There's a little bit of romance but no love triangles; there's a 'mean-girl' foil who is a nasty piece of work, but she isn't over-the-top and the author keeps her human; some might even find her sympathetic.
The mystery plot was well done. Different. We're presented with the group trying their very best to prevent a crime from happening, but find themselves and everything they thought they knew twisted up into something else entirely. I'll leave it at that because I think the story has a bit more impact if you go into it cold. But I found it was thoughtfully written in realistic shades of grey.
The overall theme of this book is parting, separation; saying goodbye when one isn't ready to say goodbye. Additionally, the author presents us with a study in "Fair is foul, and foul is fair": sometimes what seems unspeakably wrong is simply and horribly misunderstood. She also lightly touches upon domestic violence and the guilt people carry with them. Surprisingly for me, the very cuteness of the setting makes these heavier themes easier to read; I "got" the depth of the message, but I was never dragged down by it.
Heather Blake has created an excellent series I wouldn't hesitate to enthusiastically recommend to anyone who still enjoys the odd Disney-like story now and again.