My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
From USA Today bestselling author Dionne Lister comes an exciting new paranormal cosy mystery series.
All it takes is one morning for Sydney Photographer Lily Bianchi’s life to go off the rails and over a cliff.
A well-dressed English woman turns up at her door, swearing she’s a witch. If that’s not crazy enough, she explains Lily’s brother, James, has been kidnapped and the Paranormal Investigation Bureau needs Lily’s help finding him.
And the craziest part? The Englishwoman tells Lily she’s a witch too. Before she can say, “Where’s my coffee?” she’s on a plane bound for Westerham, England. Unfortunately, England’s not as welcoming as she hoped–she’s barely arrived before she gets set up, arrested and almost shot.
Things can only get better from here, right? Yeah, right…
Witchnapped in Westerham is a fun paranormal cozy mystery. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked this one up, but I ended up really enjoying it. I liked how it was quite bit different from most cozy mysteries with there not being an actual murder and it even takes a bit before you get to meet some suspects, but it all worked great here. Next to the mystery plot line there’s also the plot line of the main character finding out that she’s a witch and going to the UK for the first time to help solve the disappearance of her brother.
The pacing of this book was well done, it was fast paced, but not rushed. It doesn’t take long for Lily to find out that she’s a witch and that her brother is kidnapped, but there’s enough before that happens to give a bit of a feel of her life before this big change. I also liked how she doesn’t just trust the stranger on her doorstep that tells her she’s a witch and her brother is missing. She handled this quite smartly and made sure she had proof of both those things first.
The mystery was interesting, although the culprit becomes obvious quite early after you meet the some possible suspects. The question is more how Lily is going to proof that the culprit has done it and how. I also liked how instead of a murder that the main character stumbles upon, it’s the disappearance of her brother. Because her brother is the victim, she immediately gets involved and has a strong motivation to solve this mystery.
For a long time I did keep wondering who was on her side and who not and who she could trust. The further I got in the book the more these things became clear, but it was kinda fun to be kept guessing about some things for a bit. And only some reveals at the end make some things make more sense.
I also liked the paranormal aspect of this story. Lily just finds out that she’s a witch and has to learn more about her powers while also solving this mystery. I liked how we learn more about being a witch and the magical community piece by piece. And while Lily finds out some things about her own powers, she’s still very much a beginner too and doesn’t know what she’s doing half of the time, which I thought was well done and realistic. As she doesn’t learn everything too fast.
I liked Lily as a main character. I liked how she cared about her brother and dropped everything to go and help him. I thought it was realistic how she reacted to being a witch, a bit hesitant and afraid of her powers at times, but also excited. It also was fun to see her do a bit of exploring and seeing the UK for the first time and i hope to see more of that in later books. I did think she was a bit too obsessed with her coffee at times, but I guess that’s just one of her character quirks. I also liked how her photography kept playing a part in the story and tied in with her powers.
There are also some fun characters, like Milicent, Angelica and some of the PIB people Lily meets. And ofcourse Lily’s brother, even tough he isn’t much in the actual story, you still get to know him a bit by how Lily thinks and talks about him and how other side character talks about him. he seems like a likeable character and I hope we get to know him better in later books. There is also a tiny hint of someone who could be a potential love interest, but it’s really minor as the focus is on the mystery they’re trying to solve. So we see if and how that develops in later books.
To summarize: I really enjoyed this introduction to this paranormal cozy mystery series. I liked the combination of paranormal and mystery elements. The culprit was clear shortly after you meet them, but I didn’t mind as much as most of the challenge is in proving what they did and figuring out the how. It’s also a bit unclear for a bit who is on Lily’s side and who not, but it all becomes clear later in the book. Lily was a great main character and I felt like she reacted realistically and smart when she find out she is a witch and her brother is kidnapped. I liked her character and her love for photography and how that played a part in the story. The paranormal aspect was interesting too and I liked how Lily is still very much a newbie when it comes to magic, but also figuring some things out now. There is still a lot we don’t know about the magical community and magic, but this book was a great introduction overall and I look forward to continuing this series!