Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES hasn’t let me down. This is a solid series with a fun setting and great characters. Tantor Audio’s versions read by Xe Sands are terrific and I’m certain that her narration adds a lot to my enjoyment. Honestly, I’ve got a bit of a voice crush on her. I wouldn’t think of reading these books any other way.
In A Vision in Velvet, the sixth installment, Lily’s vintage clothing store is thriving, she has made friends with her neighbors on Haight Street, and she’s got a steady romance going. Life is pretty good. But, of course, soon enough Lily manages to get wrapped up in another murder mystery. This one involves a trunk full of old clothes, a velvet cape, a dying tree in Golden Gate Park, some scientists, psychedelic frogs, The Crucible, and an ancient curse. The mystery gets even closer to home when Oscar, Lily’s adorable shape-shifting familiar, disappears. As you’d expect, Lily eventually solves the case, with a little — actually, a lot — of help from her friends.
The plots of WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES are always associated with some sort of legendary or historical witchiness — in this case the Salem Witch Trials. While the mystery plot is always entertaining, the real draw of this series is the characters. Each one of them is unique, interesting, and evolving. Lily has come a long way from the slightly nervous and awkward woman we met in Second Hand Spirits. That Lily was chased out of her hometown, had no friends, and didn’t trust anyone she met. She hasn’t forgotten those days, so she’s amazed and thankful for what she now has and she realizes how precious it is. Her new status becomes obvious to Lily when the whole neighborhood rallies together to help her find Oscar. It’s quite touching.
Each of the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES is a self-contained mystery, so you could read A Vision in Velvet as a stand-alone without any problem, but you’ll get more out of Lily’s personal development if you start at the beginning. There is a lot that Lily still doesn’t know about her past and there are lots of paths that her future could take, so I’m looking forward to more in this series. Make sure you try this on audio!