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REVIEW

"Witches, Wiccans and Demons. Oh my!"

After being exiled from her home, Lily Ivory decided to travel the world. However, that doesn't mean Lily didn't travel in style. Thanks to her heritage, Lily has managed to pad her stock portfolio very well. Of course, her heritage—being a witch—is the reason Lily had to leave her home in the first place. After a childhood incident, Lily went to live with her grandmother, who taught Lily the craft. Unfortunately for Lily, her training wasn't complete when she was forced to leave. Eventually Lily had enough of traveling and after a parrot in Hong Kong told her to, she moved to San Francisco. Now the proud owner of Aunt Cora's Closet, Lily can indulge her passion for vintage clothing. Lily can pick up vibrations from things and is very good at matching clothing with people. Not surprisingly, the area Lily chose to live is the Haight-Ashbury district. Lily loves the mixture of people living in there.

Not surprisingly, Lily rents out a portion of her shop to Bronwyn, a Wiccan who sells herbs. One day, Maya—a student Lily gives a commission to for finding vintage clothing—and Lily go to a home in a rundown part of the city. The woman who lives there—Frances Potts—is a packrat and Maya feels sure she'll have a lot of clothes for Lily. This time, Maya was right and Lily finds a treasure trove of vintage clothing, including two wedding gowns. As Lily and Maya are with Mrs. Potts, one of the neighborhood children is there visiting with them. The little girl leaves to go home and Lily and Maya go into the basement and begin packing up the clothes. While in the basement, Lily hears La Llorona wailing. The surprising thing is Mrs. Potts hears the demon as well. This is not good. Lily has always been able to hear demons, but when humans hear them, it means they will die. Turns out Mrs. Potts has an appointment with her attorney, Delores Keener. Mrs. Potts invited Delores to dinner, which Delores just can't turn down since it's her favorite—pot roast. As the two women are hauling the clothes to Lily's van, they hear a commotion and go to investigate. As they approach a crowd of people, they find out Jessica—the little girl who was visiting with Mrs. Potts—has gone missing.

Back at Lily's store, a male witch shows up bringing a gift for Lily—a familiar. Since Lily is allergic to cats, he didn't bring one. Instead he brought a goblin, which Lily names Oscar. Of course, Oscar can't be seen by anyone in his natural state, so he takes the form of a pot-bellied pig whenever someone is around. Bronwyn falls in love with Oscar and even gives him a purple silk pillow to sleep on. After what she experienced before, Lily decides to go over to Mrs. Potts's home and cast a spell of protection over the sweet old woman. While there, she feels an evil spirit, but proceeds to cast the spell and goes home exhausted.

The next morning, Lily is paid a visit by a homicide detective. Turns out Lily was seen at the Potts's house the night before. But the shocking thing is that the old woman is dead. She was found by her daughter in a pentagram. Now not only is Lily a suspect in Mrs. Potts's death, but she has to rescue Jessica.

Is Lily's magic failing? Why didn't her spell of protection keep Mrs. Potts safe? What killed Mrs. Potts? Will Lily be able to rescue Jessica from La Llorona? And exactly why does Lily feel she has to rescue Jessica?

SECONDHAND SPIRITS is a fantastic story. Juliet Blackwell does an incredible job of not only writing an entertaining story, but giving a lot of information on the city of San Francisco and its history. But this story is about Lily—a witch. A very lonely woman who has always gone her own way alone because she isn't in complete control of her powers. She's never had a lasting relationship with a man, or a friend for that matter. We get to experience firsthand as Lily learns to make friends and how to depend on someone else for help. And of course, become accepted for who she is. Some of the secondary characters are interesting in their own right, from the voodoo priest to the barista where Lily gets her morning coffee. Of course, my favorite is Oscar, the mischievous goblin. As this is the first in a series of books, all I can say is I can't wait to see what happens with Lily and her group of friends next. And to Juliet Blackwell—write faster!

Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted July 7, 2009

SUMMARY

Love the vintage, not the ghosts.

Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her “witchiness” in San Francisco. It’s there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.

Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Contemporary, Magic

Read an Excerpt

 

Secondhand Spirits
(Witchcraft Mystery: Book 1)
by Juliet Blackwell

Signet
July 1, 2009
Available: July 7, 2009
ISBN #045122745X
EAN #9780451227454
336 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Juliet Blackwell

Hexes and Hemlines
A Cast-Off Coven


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