Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brownies & Broomsticks (Magical Bakery Mystery #1), by Bailey Cates (author), Johanna Parker (narrator)

Tantor Audio, March 2013 (original publication May 2012)

Katie Lightfoot has had a bad breakup with her fiancé, and needs a big change. So she's taken her pastry school education and her experience working in an Akron bakery to Savannah, Georgia. Her Uncle Ben and Aunt Lucy are starting a bakery there, and she's bringing her business and baking experience to the project.

What she doesn't know is that Aunt Lucy has a family secret to share with her--one her own parents have been keeping from her.

Katie's father and mother, her mother's sister Lucy, and Katie herself are all witches. Specifically hedge witches, gifted in the use of herbs and related matters.

Such as cooking, and baking.

Katie isn't sure she really believes any of this, but she loves her new home, is excited to be starting the Honeybee Bakery, and likes the ladies of her aunt's "spell book club," i.e., coven. Even with the hassle of being manipulated by the nasty Mrs. Templeton into hosting the Downtown Business Association meeting at the bakery days before they're scheduled to open, it's a good time.

Then someone breaks Mrs. Templeton's neck and kills her, moments after she and Uncle Ben have had a testy discussion about her refusal to pay the full agreed price for the breakfast meeting. A man fitting Ben's description was seen near her car just before she was found dead. Ben isn't a good suspect, or one that Detective Peter Quinn especially wants, but he's the only suspect.

Katie is suddenly juggling starting up a new bakery, two cute guys (Declan, a firefighter Ben used to work with when he was fire chief, and Steve, columnist for the local paper), the alarming idea that she's a witch, and an investigation into who really killed Mrs. Templeton, before the police arrest Ben because they don't have anyone else.

This is an entertaining start to a promising new series. I haven't mentioned Honeybee the cat, or the little terrier, Mungo the Magnificent, who are looking like very promising characters. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the tone.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.