“Is her magic a threat to Witchkind…or is she simply powerful enough to save the world?”
As someone who truly enjoyed Small Town, Big Magic, the first book in the “Witchlore” series by Hazel Beck, I was hugely excited to read the second installment of the story in Big Little Spells. What is lovely about Beck’s writing is that it perfectly toes the line between a romance and a fantasy novel, never crossing over the divide. It has echoes of Practical Magic. Her work can appeal to many fantasy readers without suffering in creativity or characters.
“Because women should claim their power. We all know who benefits when they don’t, and it isn’t us.”
The protagonist, Emerson Wilde, drew me into the original story, Small Town, Big Magic. Emerson is a type A personality organizer/planner, where life can be neatly divided into quadrants and squares. But inside of that practicality is this intensity and ferocity. You see it early in the novel when she tackles anything from scheduling to her chamber of commerce duties. I love the dichotomy of the characters. The two opposite sides are warring to make her whole. The supporting characters in Emerson’s sphere are equally crucial to the story, although they are given less page time. They all play an essential role in who she is.
The witchy part of the story comes to fruition about halfway through the novel, and you can see how Beck interwoven the personalities and identities of the most critical people in Emerson’s life together. The puzzle pieces snap together. It is beautiful and engaging writing. I recant book one to you as a fan and how book one interplays into book two. Unlike many series where each book, while existing in the same universe, is a whole story unto itself, Big Little Spells is a continuation of the first story. You could slap the books together and read them in one sitting with minimal editing, and you would have a cohesive narrative. I am sure the narrative in the third book in the series, Truly Madly Magically, will be much the same.
But specifically, the second book is about Emerson’s baby sister, Rebekah Wilde. While Emerson had all her magic erased, you will learn about this in the first novel; Rebekah chose exile without contact. At 18, she left the world with nothing and tried to forget her home and a certain man. The two sisters could not be more different than each other; however, while some authors purposefully push the differences in the reader’s faces, Beck’s characters feel like they come naturally and authentically. They have gone in two different directions; they chose two separate paths and diverged their lives at significant cost to both.
The main plot of this novel is how Rebekha has been unceremoniously yanked back into the machinations of her hometown and the politics regarding the ruling council. The council has had it out for the sister since they were children. But we need to find out why and how that will play out in their future, which is the crux of this book! What will happen to them?
Big Little Spells ends with unanswered questions, which only excites the reader about the third book in the series, “Truly Madly Magically.” I highly recommend the “Witchlore” series to anyone interested in a witch-heavy, romance-light series with a well-written plot and characters.