Review: IN A WITCH’S WARDROBE by Juliet Blackwell

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IN A WITCH’S WARDROBE
Author: Juliet Blackwell
Series: A Witchcraft Mystery
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Released: July 2012

Lily Ivory is living her dream of owning a vintage clothing store—and practicing magic on the side. But when she encounters a sinister sleeping spell, Lily comes face-to-face with a nightmarish evil…

Taking a night off from running her successful San Francisco clothing store, Lily attends a local art deco ball where vintage fashions steal the show. But when a young woman at the event falls under a mysterious sleeping sickness, Lily senses that a curse was placed on the woman’s corsage.

Before Lily can solve the woman’s magical ailment, she’s asked to assist in investigating a string of poisonings in the Bay Area witchcraft community. She’s gained the trust of the local covens by supporting women’s charities through her clothing store. But soon, Lily suspects that one of her new acquaintances might not be so well intentioned and could be dabbling in dark magic and deadly botany…

This is the fourth book in Juliet Blackwell’s A Witchcraft Mystery series, but it’s the first one I’ve read. I’m usually hesitant to read a series out of order because I might feel lost, but the blurb on this book was too intriguing to pass up. Turns out the author did a great job getting a newbie like me up to speed.

Lily Ivory is the owner of Aunt Cora’s Closet, a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco. She’s a solitary witch, due in part to being treated like an outcast growing up in a small Texas town. But now she’s slowly coming out of her shell and cautiously mingling with the local magical community. I liked Lily. She was easy to connect with, had great smarts, skills and style, and seemed like the type of friend I’d love to hang out with. Even with her social awkwardness, she was a compassionate person always willing to lend a hand to someone in need.

The mystery in this book is intriguing. It centers around a young mother who falls under a mysterious “Sleeping Beauty” curse. What happened to this woman may be connected to other poisonings in the witchcraft community. In addition, a group calling themselves the “Defenders of Morality” are targeting New Age and magical businesses in the area, vandalizing stores and leaving threats. Wanting to help out, Lily starts investigating. This was not an easy mystery to solve; it had many layers and players, and really kept me on my toes.

IN A WITCH’S WARDROBE was a well-written, fast-paced cozy with a little romance and some funny moments too. I enjoyed the magical “shop talk.” Ms. Blackwell seems to know her craft! The book ended with a cliffhanger of sorts, so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for Lily.

Review copy courtesy of the publisher.