maandag 17 januari 2011

Juliet Blackwell – A cast-off coven

The second book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, published in June 2010.

A cast-off coven

Lily Ivory is not your average witch. She runs a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora's Closet and has the magical ability to sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry. When students are spooked at the San Francisco School for the Arts, Lily is called in to search for paranormal activity. She finds a dead body - and a closet full of old clothes with some very bad vibes.

Lily is settling down in San Francisco nicely. She is not hiding her powers as a natural born witch anymore, and is making friends. Her vintage clothing store is running well. Her new assistant Maya is asking her to check out her school, as they are hearing more and more ghostly sounds, and the people are getting afraid. There was a suicide in the school a few decades ago, and perhaps that is the ghost haunting the place. The old belltower has been rumoured to be haunted for at least that long.
In exchange for her help, Lily will get the contents of an old cupboard recently discovered in the school. Lily, Maya, Bronwyn and Ginny visit the school at midnight to find out what is happening at the school. But when she is checking things out, there appears to be more going on than just a harmless ghost: Lily senses demonic energy as well. Even the ghost is afraid of what is going on. They find the body of Jerry Becker, the father of one of the students and a big contributor to the school. Did he fall down the stairs, or was he pushed? They find out he was not very well liked, he treated everyone else like dirt. He thought he was gods gift to woman. But his lifestory really was the American Dream. He started out at a delivery boy, but then he invented a device to curl hair, and set up a chain of beautyschools.
Jerry Becker visited the school at the same time John Daniels died, the guy who killed himself for love, and is said to haunt the school, and they happened to be after the same girl. But she didn’t marry either of them, she wanted a rich man, not a starving artist. After all, she was accustomed to the good life.

When Lily goes back to the school the very next day to collect the clothes and see if she can find out more clues, she runs in some interesting people, including the hot teacher Luc, who happens to be Max’ brother. And Max’ sure doesn’t like the fact that Luc is interested in her, and tells her he is afraid he is being possessed by a demon, as he is losing time. He creates great statues, but has no knowledge of making them. Max is adamant that paranormal things don’t exist, and he doesn’t like it that Lily believes she is a witch. Will she have to hide what she is to give this relationship a chance? Or will Max just have to start believing?
Finally the truth about his wife’s death is told, and she does understand his reluctance. But she is comfortable with the not hiding anymore, being accepted for who she really is. Making friends.

Lily is investigating the history of the school, to find out how the demon came there in the first place, and it al goes back to 1906, when some French nuns came to the then convent. But after the earthquake and fire that destroyed most of the city, they were never heard from again. The archives have an old letter stating that they brought something with them they shouldn’t have.

Lily is over her head in this, she doesn’t know much about ghosts and demons, let alone how to vanquish them, so she goes to Aidan for help. But Aidan refuses, he tells her to look for Sailor, he will know what to do. And if she solves this, she will pay the debt she owes him.

Lots of action in this book, lots of secrets, way too much to summarize. Great and strange new characters. So I am not telling anymore, just read the book.

I really like Lily, how she is trying for the normal things in life, dinner with friends, doing lunch. Having guest. And of course Oscar is a great secondary character. I still wonder if he really is hers, and what Aidan is about. Will the relationship with Max go anywhere? After all, he is a journalist determined to unveil frauds. So, bring on book nr 3.

8 stars.

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