A Cast-Off Coven
In the second book of the Witchcraft Mystery Series, our feisty witchy heroine Lily Ivory gets to meet newer friends while keeping the old ones, when she’s not battling demons, that is.
In her quest to find rare vintage items, Lily was introduced to Dr. Marlene Mueller, the provost for the fictional San Francisco School of Fine Arts whose daughter, Ginny, is friends and goes to school with Lily’s able assistant (and reluctant sidekick) Maya. Lily is allowed to take all the Victorian garments and other stuff she could find in the school’s basement if she exorcises the spirit that has been haunting the students not too long ago. The hauntings have deeply disturbed everyone going in the school that finally prompted Marlene to call in an expert. Before you could say “witch hunt”, Lily is being haunted herself. It seemed that someone is out to spread malevolence and didn’t want one meddling witch to get in their way.
A Cast-off Coven is the perfect follow-up book to the Secondhand Spirits as it builds on the strengths of the former while solidifying and expanding the series’ horizon. We see more of Lily and her slow rise to fame as the neighborhood witch (dost she protest much) and of her adorable pet goblin (and possible spy for enigmatic male witch Aidan Rhodes) Oscar in his Vietnamese potbellied pig disguise. The other quirky characters in this merry magical mystery lend an authentic SanFo vibe that had me reaching for the globe just trying to locate that hippie community. The romance is also amped up with Max and Lily taking a step further in their tango to love. But has the can-he-really-accept-me-as-i-am tune had our favorite witch dancing with two left feet? After all, what use is there in having someone who insists in having you renounce your true nature?
But what made me a true believer and a fan of the series is the story. We got a taste of how powerful Lily’s adversaries are in the first book, but in this, we see how Lily, in all her prowess and expertise, could actually lose her battle against evil. It was quite “frightening” to entertain the possibility of her losing even after all her preparations. And an author who manages to scare you like that is one to be respected. It was a revelation how someone in Lily’s position could be scared. Her vulnerability made her more “human” to me.
Another thing that I liked was the darker tone of the book. Naturally, I would shy away from more serious tomes but I appreciate the natural progression of the plot. With Lily fending off more sinister evil, for sure, we would be given glimpses of her development as a character. It’s something I would love to follow through. Can’t you tell yet how heavily invested I am already in Juliet Blackwell’s babies? Hehe
I recommend A Cast-off Coven to anyone needing a paranormal angle in their cozy mystery. While this book can stand on its own, this is still best read after Secondhand Spirits. That way, you’ll be gradually introduced to a host of characters whom you will soon grow to love.
To appreciate the book more, read my review of the first book in this magically wonderful series, Secondhand Spirits: