I read and thoroughly enjoyed Kimberly Frost‘s Would-Be Witch, so when I saw that the sequel, Barely Bewitched, was out, I just had to read it. Unlike many second novels, Barely Bewitched is even better than the first novel.
Barely Bewitched begins a week after the events of Would-Be Witch. In a rare plot convenience (there are very few of these, so I will allow Kimberly Frost the luxury of one or two without dinging her star count), Tammy Jo Trask’s mother and step-mother — who are both witches — are still away. Tammy Jo is planning to rob her nemesis, Jenna Reitgarten, of Tammy Jo’s jewelry, which Tammy Jo had pawned in the last book, and which Jenna had purchased from the pawn shop and refused to sell back to Tammy Jo.
And then comes a knock at the door, where stands a handsome stranger. Except this guy is schoolgirl crush handsome; one knows right away that he’s not her type. His name is Jordan Perth, a Brit with a “yummy accent,” and he comes with a summons from the World Association of Magic. Tammy Jo must now undergo a challenge, and Jordan and his colleague are here to prepare her for it.
Except the colleague turns out to have more than one connection to Tammy Jo. Plus, he’s scary.
Another handsome man appears on her doorstep, and turns out to be Bryn Lyons, who is now off-limits in more than one way. He wants Tammy Jo to cater a party he’s planning. While he’s still there (of course), another handsome man turns up, and it is Zach, Tammy Jo’s irresistible ex-husband from the previous book, with whom she never really broke up completely. And he’s not at all happy to see Bryn.
This sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The meeting with the WAM wizard turns out to be a disaster, and it uncovers a part of Tammy Jo that she never dreamed existed. However, it does much to explain why her magic is so erratic and capricious.
Tammy Jo’s adventures force her to get to know Bryn better, and she grows more and more attracted to him. However, Zach is still her first love, and he shows no sign of having moved on. For a while, I was thinking I’d have to ding the author for lack of character growth in Zach, but I was happily incorrect. Bryn grows both darker and more appealing, displaying both a ruthless side and a caring one. I still prefer Zach, especially in light of his decision on the last few pages. Talk about a teaser! Zach (who is a deputy sheriff) is going to take a little trip, get some special combat training. And I can’t wait for him to come back. (I do hope this doesn’t mean an entire book will have to go by without him.)
I usually hesitate to give a book five stars. After all, should not five stars be reserved for literary masterpieces, only? I think not. Five stars should be given to books that succeed in all its objectives. It’s meant to be funny, and it is. It’s meant to be light, and it is. It’s meant to be devoured quickly, and it was. So yes, I’d give Barely Bewitched the same five stars that I’d give to The Grapes of Wrath. I’ve seen many books try to be funny, light and quick, and fail on one account or another. This one scored in all three areas.
So therefore, if you are looking for a literary chocolate sundae, with lots of hot fudge and drizzled in pixie dust, then Barely Bewitched is exactly the kind of book for you. Start with Would-Be Witch, because the story begins there, but don’t hesitate to move on to Barely Bewitched. You will be charmed.