Retro Reading: A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake
While witches were supposed to be the "new thing" a few years ago, author Heather Blake jumped on the bandwagon and produced not one, but two series in which the main characters are practicing witches. This series is the latter and shortest of the two.
Carly Bell Hartwell is the good witch in Hitching Post, Alabama, billed as the wedding capital of the south, and Carly happily concocts potions of love for those seeking it, amongst other things. She tries to stay away from her cousin, Delia, who spends her time creating hexes for the disenchanted.
After a "forecast" from Carly's neighbor, Mr. Dunwoody, the residents of Hitching Post are busy chasing down Carly and when she gets to her shop, she sees Delia waiting outside. Carly's not having it and when Delia follows her into the shop, Delia comes to tell her that she's had a bad dream about Carly and that she may be in trouble.
Carly doesn't want to hear anything from Delia and as she goes into the back of the shop, they stumble upon the body of attorney Nelson Winston, clutching one of Carly's signature potion bottles.
The only thing is Carly doesn't know how he had gotten a bottle and she can't recall ever making a potion for him.
As Carly tries to put the pieces together another disaster befalls her as Coach Butts drives his truck into the front porch of her house. He claims that she poisoned him and is clutching another one of her bottles. Even though she didn't make a potion for him, she did make one for his wife, Angelea.
With the town buzzing amongst the rumors that she's poisoned two people, she has to clear her name so that the town can get back to some type of normalcy. That's an almost impossible feat.
Blake is a great storyteller, but for some reason, this first installment into a new series is so-so.
The characters are likable, the plot interesting, but there are too many characters to keep up with. It's always been a pet peeve of mine when there are too many and I think that's what makes me lose interest in what's going on with the story. In general, I counted approximately fifteen to twenty characters. That right there shut down my concentration.
Once the characters start to disappear the story starts to take shape and you're able to concentrate on what you've undoubtedly missed. The meandering settles down and the suspect list begins to grow. And there are plenty.
Overall, you're in for a good time and if the next two installments take shape, it'll be a great little series.