My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
A baker with secrets
Witches in trouble
The cameras are rolling
Ready, set, die.
Poppy Wilkinson is thrilled to be chosen as a contestant on The Great British Baking Contest. As an American with English roots, winning the crown as Britain’s Best Baker would open doors she’s dreamed of. In more ways than one. Appearing on the reality show is her chance to get into Broomewode Hall and uncover the secrets of her past.
But strange things are happening on the show’s set: accusations of sabotage, a black cat that shadows Poppy, suspiciously unsociable residents at Broomewode Hall—and the judges can be real witches.
There are murmurs that Broomewode is an energy vortex. It certainly makes Poppy see and do things that aren’t exactly normal, and seems to draw interesting characters to the neighborhood.
When a fellow contestant dies in mysterious circumstances, Poppy has more to worry about than burned pies and cakes that won’t rise. There’s a murderer on the loose and it’s up to Poppy and her new friends to solve the crime before it becomes a real show-stopper.
From USA Today Bestselling Author Nancy Warren, this delicious series of cozy paranormal mysteries will have you guessing until the end. Includes recipes.
I received a free code for the audiobook version of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
I’ve been enjoying this author’s other series The Vampire Knitting Club and I was excited when she released this first book in a new series. I like paranormal cozy mystery books and add in the baking theme as well as a baking competition seemed so much fun. I was so happy to get my hands on the audiobook for this one and started listening as soon as I finished my current book.
The Great Witches Baking Show follows the story of Poppy. Poppy is one of the contestants, but she’s not here for the competition, her main goal is to find out more about her past and she thinks it might be connected to Broomewode Hall where the show is being held. She’s a great baker as well and has trained hard to be on this show. I thought it was interesting how she had an extra goal for being there. There are also some fun baking related scenes.
The story started off a bit slow for me, there is a lot of information to get first. From how the show works to Poppy’s past and background to why she’s here. Then there is the first episode of baking and only after that the mystery really starts, although I didn’t mind this set-up and had expected the mystery to start later in the book as that’s what happens in this author’s other series as well. And while I liked the baking part, I only got really into it once the mystery started as it felt that only then the story really took off. And the other side plot lines start progressing around then as well.
I liked the mystery, even though it takes some time to really start there area bunch of clues and set-ups in the first part before the murder occurs, which was great. I also liked that even though it gets solved relatively fast it was still an interesting mystery and there are some well done red herrings and a nice twist when the real murderer and motive is revealed. I liked how things got wrapped up at the end and we got a few more scenes before the book ended.
Besides the mystery there also is the paranormal storyline. Poppy finds out she’s a witch in this book and she has to figure out what that means and how to handle it. I liked how there is some information about the whole witches thing, but it’s spaced throughout the book and not everything is revealed at once, which made it easier to absorb the information we got. I liked the paranormal aspect so far and how there are different type of witches and I look forward to finding out more. The paranormal theme was nicely woven throughout the book.
I liked Poppy as a main character. She did seem a bit too focused on finding out where she came for, but it did give her a good motivation and extra interest in being here. I also liked how she wanted to solve the mystery. She was very determined to get the answers she is looking for. I liked how she dealt with finding out she’s a witch, yes she accepts things quite quickly, but I liked that and through it fit the book. There is no long going back and forth and while she’s a bit unsure about her powers it’s clear quickly that she really is a witch and I liked she has a few instances where she used her powers already. The cat Gateau also was a fun addition. And I liked how she already made a witchy friend who could help her along.
There is a huge cast of characters, which took some gettign used to. Especially at first it was hard to remember who was who. It helped when partway through the book some characters played a lesser role so it was easier to get a feel for the characters that were more involved with this mystery. The different voices the narrator had for the different characters helped me along a bit to slowly start to remember who was who. By the end of the book I was doing decently with remember the more common side characters and luckily throughout the book there are enough hints and reminder so it’s easy to get reminded of why a certain character is.
The mystery got resolved in this book, but the quest for answers about Poppy’s family and the baking show contest will probably be ongoing plot lines that continue throughout the series. I liked how both of those plot lines made some progress here, but there is clearly still a lot to uncover too.
This was a new to me narrator and while I had to get used to her style a bit at first, I ended up liking her narration for this book. She did a great job with giving characters different voices and accents, which also helped me get a better feel for the characters. I thought she did a great job narrating this book and am hoping the rest of the series will be in audio as well.
To summarize: This was a fun first book in a new series by this author. I like the way the mystery, paranormal and other elements get blended in an interesting story. The story started off a bit slow, but I was interested from the start to see where things went. The mystery is a good one and I liked how there were some red herrings and interesting twists. The paranormal aspect is introduced as well when Poppy finds out she’s a witch, I liked how that was handled and how the paranormal part was woven throughout the series. The baking show contest and Poppy’s search for answers about her birth family seem like they will be continuing plot lines throughout the series, but both storylines made progress in this book already. I liked Poppy as main character and look forward to reading more about her. With the large group of side characters it was a bit hard to remember who was who at first, but it got easier as the story progressed. And the different voices and accents the narrator gave to them also helped. It took me a bit of time to get used to this new to me narrator, but I ended up liking her style for this book. I hope the rest of the series will be audio as well so I can listen to those as well.