Bewicched, a review by Joanna

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Bewicched 

Seana Kelly

324 pages

Nancy Yost Literary Agency

Published May 2, 2023
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Bewicched is the first instalment of the Sea Wicche contemporary fantasy series, which is a spin-off from the author’s Sam Quinn books, about a bartending werewolf and her assorted supernatural friends. This one centres on Arwyn Cassandra Corey, an artist based in Monterey, California, who is also a powerful witch (the author spells it as Wicche). Arwyn has been mentioned in the last few Sam books, and features more prominently in the Banshee & The Blade novella – events from which are referred to here, but I don’t think you need to have read the other series to enjoy this.

Arwyn is descended from a long line of Corey Wicches, but her unknown father was of the ocean fae, giving her a powerful connection to sea creatures, and strong psychic and psychometric powers. These prevent her from having any close relationships, because she can feel the thoughts of anyone she touches. Her mother and grandmother are keen for her to join the Corey council, but Arwyn just wants to focus on renovating an old cannery into a gallery for her art. Then the police ask for her help to locate a missing child, and Arwyn can’t say no, even if the process threatens her sanity. Luckily a hunky werewolf is on hand to help out…
This kind of fantasy seems to be my go-to when I’m tired of reading to schedule (ARCs or Book Club books). Having read all five Sam Quinn novels, plus the two novellas, with mixed results – I 5-starred the first one, mainly for the great cast of diverse supernatural characters, but then got bored with the plot repetition. The last one was a lot better, and being invested in the world that Kelly has created, I was curious to get to know Arwyn, whose main role in the other series is as the creator of Sam’s magic chess set. I loved that unlike Sam, who is constantly being attacked and miraculously healed multiple times per book, Arwyn can basically defend herself and doesn’t always need to be rescued. While there is a romance subplot, it’s not the main point of the book and I actually liked patient but persistent carpenter Declan.
This was darker than I expected – there’s a serial killer of children, and some quite distressing scenes, some of which are revealed as dreams/visions, but were still horrific. On the plus side, we’re spared any detailed love scenes and I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Arwyn & Declan. I enjoyed the cameo appearance by Sam, Clive & Dave, and the revelations of family ties between them. Overall I think I liked this better than the last few Sam books, and look forward to continuing Arwyn’s adventures next year. Just don’t read this while hungry – the frequent descriptions of Arwyn’s baking had me longing for sweet treats!

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