‘Betwixt’ was a fun read from beginning to end. It has the energy of a pantomime, that raucous, barely contained energy of a wild animal choosing to keep its claws sheathed. The tone is humorous but it’s a humour fueled by anger and a refusal to despair. It stalks the edges of raunchy but stays just this side of lust-fuelled wishful thinking.
The bedrock of the book is the friendship between the two main women, Defiance and Annette. They’ve been together since school and the bond between them isn’t going to be broken by Defiance going through a disastrous divorce. ending up penniless and travelling across the country to a spooky house in Salem that has been left to her by a woman she has never met. They will get by somehow, even if the somehow involves magic spells, long-kept family secrets, a stunningly attractive heavily tattooed man in a leather kilt who takes his shirt off a lot, a mad man with a knife and an endless stream of people knocking on Defiance’s door, interrupting the explanation of what on earth is going on. The interaction between Defiance and Annette is filled with humour, trust, mutual acceptance and a refusal to give up or give in.
Humour is never far away in this story but Darynda Jones also delivers an interesting magic system, a strong and slowly revealed back story, a loveable (if odd? because they’re odd? because others would see them as odd but they just see each other as family?) set of characters and some action scenes to add some tension.
Then there’s the ending. Not a cliff hanger- all the plot ends are neatly tied up – but something that made me go, ‘I need book two right now!’ and then smile when I found it was already available to download.
If you’re looking for something that will keep you turning the pages, make you laugh while you cheer for the good guys and still deliver a real plot, then ‘Betwixt’ is for you. But set aside enough time to move straight on to book two ‘Bewitched’.