Friday, September 4, 2020

Review: A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Book Summary (from Publisher):

Alexandra Daniels hasn't set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother's tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.

Bellamy Bay doesn't look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip, and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.

Alex's investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex's own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.

My Review:

I received A Spell For Trouble by Esme Addison from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I have been reading a lot of paranormal cozy mysteries lately, and jumped at the chance to read the first book in this brand new series.  This cozy takes place in an herbal shop owned by the main character, Alexandra's aunt and cousins.  After her mother's death, her father estranged her from this side of the family.  In the beginning of the story, Alexandra's father has died, and she has quit her job.  Her aunt sent her an invitation to visit, and it seemed like a good idea, and some time away would help her figure out her life.  From there, she starts to work some shifts in the shop and witnesses a confrontation between her aunt and a customer.  The customer later winds up dead, and Alexandra's aunt it the prime suspect.  Alexandra decides to investigate and save her aunt.

As far as cozy mysteries go, Alexandra's character is pretty on par with other cozy amateur detectives.  She sometimes doesn't think things all the way through and makes poor choices from time to time or jumps to wrong conclusions.  This is typical of the genre.  I  think as the serious goes on, she will make less of these errors.  She does have passion and is willing to look at things differently and without the constraints that police officers face.  If you add in the paranormal aspect, the police don't have a chance of solving it without her help.

My favorite character is Alex's cousin Minka.  There is something very spunky and refreshing about her character.  I also enjoyed Pepper, the intrepid reporter.  She is somewhat of a busy-body and like a dog with a bone when it comes to stories.  I hope in the next book we learn more about the Wesley's and the history between them and Alex's family.  I would like more about Dylan as well.

The mystery was well done.  I didn't guess who the killer was until almost the end.  It kept me guessing in several places.  I also enjoyed the fact that Alexandra's family is Polish.  I love all the references to the different polish foods and legends.  This is a take on cozies I haven't seen before.  I do wish that the author had included some recipes for both the herbal concoctions as well as the polish foods Aunt Lidia makes.  A lot of cozies include recipes and I would love to try making some of the things I read about in the book.  I look forward to reading the next in the series when it comes out.

4 Stars

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