Originally posted on Joyfully Reviewed: http://joyfullyreviewed.com/reviews/Feb09/castingspells.BB.html
Sugar Maple, Vermont is the picture perfect town. It has no crime, no police force, and no human residents. Well, almost none. Chloe Hobbs, owner of the popular knitting shop, Sticks & Strings, is the only human living in Sugar Maple. She’s also the daughter of a sorceress and holds the town’s very future in her hands. When the spell protecting the town from harm begins to weaken, the town residents are out in full matchmaking force for Chloe. Then Sugar Maple experiences its first murder when a tourist, Suzanne Marsden is found dead. And that’s only the beginning of the trouble.
Luke MacKenzie has been sent to Sugar Maple to investigate the death of his childhood friend, Suzanne. What he finds is a town that is much more than it seems, a town filled with secrets an outsider like him isn’t supposed to uncover. Luke also finds himself deeply drawn to the beautiful owner of Sticks & Strings. But love between Chloe and a man who’s fully human is the last thing the residents of Sugar Maple want to occur.
Casting Spells is an enchantingly written yarn that captured my interest from the very first page and didn’t let go. It’s a fresh, fun, captivating read that still puts a smile on my face when I think of it.
I’ll be honest; I generally do not like romances written in the first person, as I don’t feel as connected to the protagonist who isn’t narrating. Yet Barbara Bretton deftly works around this by writing the book from both Chloe and Luke’s points of view (with clearly labeled viewpoint changes, which I appreciate). I loved being inside both their heads, getting to connect fully with both hero and heroine. Both Chloe and Luke are immensely likeable, and by writing the story in the first person, Ms. Bretton gifts readers with insight into all their individual eccentricities without it ever seeming forced or detracting from the story. Put simply, Chloe and Luke felt real and they were characters that, were they real, I would love to know.
As for the other residents of Sugar Maple, the faeries, vampires, werewolves, and the like, they were vast, varied and interesting. A town filled with magical beings makes for some quirky incidents, and I loved every one of them. After finishing Casting Spells I wanted nothing more than to visit Sugar Maple, and admittedly cursed when forced by reality to acknowledge that I couldn’t. I absolutely loved Casting Spells. It was a fluid, fast-paced tale filled with original, memorable characters I grew to love. This may be the first book I’ve ever read by Ms. Bretton, but it will definitely not be the last. Pure magick!