A SPELL FOR TROUBLE
SERIES: An Enchanted Bay Mystery #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Cozy Mystery
A Spell for Trouble is the first book in the Enchanted Bay cozy mystery series by Esme Addison.
It’s a real theme-combo cozy so it’s going to have an appeal for a lot of different cozy fans. You’ve got the witchcraft/ paranormal angle, with a special twist that the witchcraft has a mermaid angle, but you’ve also got a crafting theme, in the form of soap and perfume making.
The mystery is woven nicely through the entire story, with some strong red-herrings to keep you guessing.
There’s also some mystery within a mystery going on, as Addison sets up a few different questions to be explored in future novels. We’re left wondering about what really happened to Alex’s mother years ago, and how the long-standing feud between the rival witch families will play out. Add to that the mentions of a larger witch council and community as well as a potential love triangle, and there’s a lot of opportunities for this series to grow.
I liked Alex as a protagonist, but she was a little naive and slow on the uptake in some places. She was occasionally a tad irksome. Hopefully the character will grow as she gains experience and settles into her role in the town as the series develops.
The world-building and mermaid legacies felt a little complication and under-explained, but I’d give the author the benefit of the doubt and read a future installment because it’s a pretty ambitious magical system or a cozy so might just need time to develop.
A unique cozy with potential as a series opener.
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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.