Stony Mill, Indiana - just everytown USA, right?
Maybe more than many people would like to think.
Maggie O'Neal, 29 year old employee of Enchantments, for the most part takes center stage in this best of the series.
Felicity Dow, owner of Enchantments lets her young friends/employees go to a local evangelical church's fundraising carnival to have some fun. (Enchantments is a popular antique/unique tea and coffee store - something for everyone, it seems. Felicity is a wonderful hostess/owner of Enchantments and has taken Maggie under her wing.) Felicity also is a witch and helps Maggie realize her paranormal self. She doesn't set to change Maggie in any way, but allows Maggie to understand the religion of Nature, and Maggie finds her psychic power.
The fund raising event the girls go to has everything a church planned event usually has, games, lemonades, etc., but Maggie hears a fight between a young girl and her boyfriend. As the day goes, Maggie explores the grounds that include the gorgeous garden the church has.
When the groundbreaking starts for a new wing to the church, the preacher states that since the sudden news of witches and paranormal assemblies that had been unveiled (in the last book), they have to do what they can to stop these folks from practicing in their town.
Maggie and the girls leave, one of the girls remembers she left her cell phone at the carnival. The girls were having pizza at Maggie's apartment and Marcus happens to come by.
Marcus is a gorgeous Wiccan who is a dear friend of Liss, and Maggie thought that Liss and Marcus were an item, in the last book it is revealed that Marcus and Liss were only friends.
This frees up the growing attraction between Maggie and Marcus. Tom the cop, whom Maggie had been dating on/off, was still in the picture, but he has no tolerance for the paranormal and doesn't like Maggie working at Enchantments, much less being part of the NIGHTS group that help with their paranormal gifts.
The girls find the cell phone, but also find a body.
And a young boy's spirit (Elias) seems to have attached himself to Maggie.
Each of the characters shine in this series, but it is Maggie that glows, and grows into who she is.
AND she seems to have made a decision on her love life which we all are thrilled for her!
The one warning I HAVE to put - the girls use a makeshift OUIJA board on several occassions - the OUIJA is not used casually - it is an instrument that some use for fun, but also can invite in spirit that you may not want to have around.
I remember William Peter Blatty saying on talk shows for kids never to use one - he wrote The Excorcist - I never touched one since. Sorry if I've mispelled their names, but this has stayed with me. I have some OUIJA stories to tell that are quite frightening....
The OUIJA does play a part in this book, but I must stress caution if someone is tempted to use one.
Maggie grows as a character, our favorite familiar, the black kitty, grows to be a formidable part of the Enchantments group, all grow and we see more of the conflict between the people who don't know and understand the religion of nature and spirit and the established religions. I fear the conflict will get more passionate.
Ms. Alt is a talented writer that knows how to write some of the most sensual/chaste love scenes that always make you come back for more.
But this series is growing, maturing and is a formidable part of the genre.
Where There's a Witch (Bewitching Mysteries No. 5) by Madelyn Alt, ISBN 10: 0425228711, Berkely Press, review by ellen george