The first book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, published in July 2009.
Love the vintage- not the ghosts
Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her "witchiness" in San Francisco. It's there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.
Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?
Lily Ivory is very strong born witch. She has travelled all over the world, but now she has the need to put down roots, and she has chosen San Francisco to do just that. She has opened a vintage clothing shop, part of which is rented out to a wiccan practioner, selling herbs and stuff. A young student is helping her find her merchandise.
Lily gets a visit by a very handsome male witch, who tells her he knows her father (which is not a good thing) and who leaves her a housewarming gift: a familiar. Only this is not a black cat or anything, but a cross between a gnome and a goblin, and looks like a small gargoyle. She doesn’t want to accept the creature, but Aidan Rhodes has already left the shop. Luckily, the creature, which she calls Oscar, can shapeshift, and it turns itself in a cute little pig before anyone can see his true self.
Lily and Maya are off to an old lady now, who has never in her life thrown anything away, so Lily is excited about the clothes she could find. She is especially looking for wedding gowns, as she is to outfit a high society wedding party with vintage bridal gowns and bridesmaids clothes. Frances Potts lives in a rambling big house in a totally neglected garden, in what is now a run-down neighbourhood. The basement, a rarity in San Francisco, is a true treasure cove for Lily, including two great wedding dresses. She’ll have some work to do with the garments, as they are not really in prime condition, but they are still great finds.
While they are sorting through the clothes, both Lily and Frances hear the wail of a demon: where are my children? And the next thing that happens, is a young girl that was just visiting Frances, is snatched of the street. When Lily hears the name La Llorona, she gets scared. La Llorona used to be a mother, who drowned her children, and now herself. She is supposed to dwell on the shores of the Rio Grande, looking for her children, and snatching and drowning those she meets. So what is she doing here?
The fact that Frances has heard her wailing, means that Frances is in mortal danger too, and Lily decides to brew her a protective potion. Going to the house in the middle of the night to cast her protective spell in Frances’ bedroom should be easy, but a very powerful something is fighting her. It should still work, as Lily is very powerful, but the next morning Frances is still found murdered by her estranged daughter. Of course, she was only protecting Frances against demons, not against ordinary humans.
The next evening she decides to scout the house, to see if she can find out what happens. Surprised she meets Max again at the house, and they explore together. Upon finding a voodoo altar in the bedroom closet, strange and evil things start happening, and Max is wounded. With a little help from Tomás, a cousin of the disappeared Jessica, Lily gets him in her car and takes him home with her to heal him. Wounds gotten through magic means are often more serious than normal wounds.
A lot is happening in this book, some magic and some action. Even a bit scary at times, not your typical cozy. There are some great secondary characters, and I am curious about the next book. The strange neighbour-shop owner Karen, and of course the male witch. Why is he interested in her?
But I like Lily. There is a lot of hinting about something that happened in her home town, and which is the reason she travelled the world. And she did meet her father at one time, which was not a good thing. She is totally new at making friends, and everything that involves. But she is a good witch, and I like reading about witches. So yes, I want to find out more.