A magical book series by Debora Geary

December 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm (Book reviews, Favourite books) (, , , )

A Modern Witch series by Debora Geary

I bought a Kindle when I was teaching myself to convert Faery Magic and Mermaid Magic into eBooks. And I’m so glad I did, because without it I would never have discovered Debora Geary’s wonderful A Modern Witch series. She has created a beautiful, magical community made up of funny, warm, occasionally crotchety but always endearing people who happen to have witchy powers, set in the modern-day real world. There are no grand battles of good vs evil, no violent clashes, suspenseful horror or nasty villains. Instead the reader is submerged into a place of friendship, family and community.

Each witch is unique and fully realised, and the descriptions of their connection to nature and their workings with the element they have an affinity with are beautiful. Each character’s discovery of their power and how it impacts on their life and personality will resonate with everyone who works with magic in some way (and oh how you’ll long to be able to go the extra mile, as these characters do, flying on broomsticks and teleporting with an internet spell).

The magic in this series is based on what real-life witches do every day – healing and spellwork, rituals for the sabbats, sharing and learning and personal growth, all beautifully told – with a little bit of fantasy thrown in that you’ll ache with longing for it to be true. I laughed a lot, and was moved to tears a few times too, totally absorbed into these witches’ worlds, their emotions, their personal growth and their magical challenges.

The first book, A Modern Witch, focuses on Lauren, a successful Chicago real estate agent, happily climbing the professional ladder and proud of her practical, sensible nature. When a witch-fetching spell fetches her while she’s online grocery shopping, she’s adamant there’s been a mistake. Witches don’t exist, right? And she doesn’t have time for such things. But as she and her yoga-loving, non-magical best friend discover, life is full of surprises – and their welcome by the west coast witching community turns both their lives upside down, as well as reminding them of the everyday magic of family, friendship and community.

I love that Lauren doesn’t fall for the handsome witch who’s training her, as some other author may have done, and that the story focuses not on her love life but on her journey of self discovery, as she learns about her limits and faces up to the challenge and responsibility of being a frighteningly powerful mind witch. I was completely absorbed by the story, as well as by the mix of traditional witchcraft, as taught by healer Aunt Moira from a small coastal community in Nova Scotia, with the new style of magic and technology that San Francisco matriarch Nell and her siblings, triplet daughters and precocious four-year-old witchling son practise in life and within their online gaming empire. This book was so compelling that I bought the next one the minute I finished it (one of the joys of a Kindle!). Despite the author’s offer to send the next instalment for free if you write a review, I didn’t want to wait even that long to start reading it…

The second book, A Hidden Witch, opens in Nova Scotia, where Aunt Moira’s granddaughter Elorie helps her train young witches in the Old Ways, despite having no magic of her own. It has been hard for Elorie to live at the heart of the witchy community without any powers, but she has made peace (of sorts) with her life as an artist and a trainer. But the modern world and the witches so at home in it are about to turn her life upside down (yes, this transformation of the central character in each book is a theme!), in wonderful, magical ways. The awesome characters from the first book are a big part of the story, and we learn more about their talents, their challenges and their lives, and we meet new characters too, as Elorie goes on her own incredible emotional journey.

In the third book, A Reckless Witch, the San Francisco community happen upon a totally wild, totally untrained and totally reckless orphan, Sierra, who’s quite happy to wreak havoc on the world with the weather witch skills she has but doesn’t understand. They want to help her, to teach her and nurture her, but after years of anguish being passed around foster families, Sierra is full of anger and deeply mistrustful. Like each of the books in this series, this one is woven loosely around a single character’s oft-fraught journey to come to terms with their power, but the stories of every other character in the book are also fascinating.

The fourth book, A Nomadic Witch, is due out around May this year – this one centred on Marcus – and five more are planned, which means these memorable, magical characters will be casting their spell for years and years. There’s also a wonderful spin-off trilogy, Witches on Parole, which has given some more characters their own book as well as introducing great new ones. The first one, Witches on Parole: Unlocked, is out now, with the second, Witches on Parole: Unfettered, out in late January and the third in February (hooray!). At least two more spin-off trilogies are planned too, and with a whole world of fascinating, complex and magical witches to profile, Debora will be weaving wonderful, compelling stories for a long time to come…

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