Thursday, April 8, 2010

THE SEVENTH WITCH by Shirley Damsgaard

Publisher: Avon
Date published: January 2010
ISBN: 978-006-149347-8
Paranormal, Cozy Mystery
Mass market paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Library

Abby, Ophelia and Tink arrive in the mountains where their family has lived for generations to celebrate Great Aunt Mary’s 100th birthday. With their pets safety tucked away with friend Darci, the three generations of Jensen women are looking forward to a relaxing time with their great aunts, aunts and a myriad of cousins. Well sort of. Great Aunt Mary does kind of weird Ophelia out and Abby has a few secrets she hasn’t gotten around to revealing and while Darci is back home busy with work and school she’d rather be with her best friend and well, when you have a family of witches gathering something is bound to pop up, right? And if we’re talking about Ophelia, that is more likely than not going to be a dead body or two or so.

Worse than the dead body is the person everyone thinks may just have something to do with why poor Oscar has crossed to the great beyond. That would be one Sharon Doran a self-proclaimed witch who seems to be casting spells left and right that bring harm to any who cross her path.

Muddling things even further for Ophelia is the appearance of Ethan, aka Cobra, the DEA agent who has helped her out before. The question is, what is he doing so far from Somerset and to her chagrin, more important to Ophelia is his relationship with Sharon. Not that she has any designs on the gray eyed DEA agent. After all, she has a teenaged daughter and her family and her job. What use could Ethan possibly have in her life? Especially when dead bodies are beginning to pop up in the days before the birthday celebration.

I have enjoyed reading Shirley Damsgaard’s Ophelia and Abby mysteries beginning with book 1, Witch Way To Murder. Ms. Damsgaard has crafted Ophelia to grow into her abilities a bit more with each story. Somewhere between book 6, and book 7, THE SEVENTH WITCH Ms. Damsgaard made an amazing leap and wrote one of the most spellbinding books I’ve read in some time. The story was so absorbing I hated having to put the book down. I tried to figure out what made it leap ahead of the others which were good reads I recommend, but couldn’t’ quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was seeing where Abby hailed from or seeing Aunt Dot again, or meeting the cousins, or watching Ophelia go head to head with an evil witch or maybe it was the reappearance of Ethan in her life. Then again, maybe there was simply a magical combination of several aspects that made it an above average read.

I’ve appreciated Ophelia putting first career and then, after adopting Tink, to the forefront of her life. At the same time, I found myself alternatively rooting for Camacho and Ethan to win her heart. Ophelia herself seemed to waffle back and forth between attraction for the two men and business as usual. When Ethan alludes to wanting a bit more than just a passing friendship with Ophelia, Ms. Damsgaard does it so naturally that his simple declaration took my breath away. And when his own secrets begin to unfold you cannot help but smile.

Underlying it all is the wicked Sharon Doran. From the first moment you meet her you can’t wait till she gets her comeuppance. The thing is, you are never quite sure it’s going to happen because in her Ms. Damsgaard creates quite a nasty villain.

Of all the books in this series THE SEVENTH WITCH is hands down the best and I don’t know how Ms. Damsgaard can top it. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see what happens in book 8 which can’t come too soon for me. I’ll be prowling Avon’s and Ms. Damgsgaard's sites looking for the news of its arrival.


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