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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
What I'm Reading: Casting Spells
Supernatural elements are cropping up everywhere. Case in point, Barbara Bretton's charming knitting, chick lit series which begins with Casting Spells. Chloe Hobbs is the unofficial mayor of Sugar Maple, VT. She is the half human, half sorceress ancestor to the town's founder. Sugar Maple is a refuge for supernatural beings of all kinds. As long as a female descendant in the founder's line is still living in Sugar Maple, all of the witches, Fae, vampires, and pixies are safe; outsiders come to visit and see them as regular people. And the town makes a killing as a tourist destination.
Chloe runs the very popular knitting shop, but she so far, she has no powers. She is also pushing 30 and has not produced a female heir. The spell is weakening. Case in point, someone is murdered in the town limits. A handsome Boston cop is sent to help solve the case, and sparks literally fly.
Appeal: Casting Spells is part crafting cozy and part supernatural romance with a touch of mystery. It is romantic, but gentle. It is character centered, has a shifting point of view between the male and female protagonists, and has eccentric and compelling secondary characters. Casting Spells is fast paced with lots of action and humor. Many people love small town settings and Sugar Maple will satisfy those readers. It has a resolved ending, but the characters will still call you back for the sequel.
Readalikes: Casting Spells is for people who like the SookieStackhouse books in theory, but find them too violent in practice. It's Sookie lite.
Don't underestimate the crafting appeal here too. Jennifer Chiaverini'sElm Creek Quilters series would work here for the multi-generational angle as well as the crafting. There is also Kate Jacob's popular Friday Night Knitting Club series.
Casting Spells walks a fine line between chick lit and romance, so contemporary romance with a sense of humor like Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a good bet.
For nonfiction, I would try these knitting books and these about Vermont (which was a key appeal for me personally).
Becky Spratford is a Readers' Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and content for Library Journal. Becky is also known for her work with horror readers as the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and is currently hard at work on the 3rd Edition. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual LIbrarians’ Day. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll.