Title: The Wonkiest Witch (The Wonky Inn Book 1)

Publisher: Bark at the Moon Books

Author: Jeannie Wycherley

Pages: 262pp

Price: $12.00 / $3.99

Alfhild Daemonne is a witch, albeit a very reluctant one. After accidentally cursing her father as a teenager, Alfhild swore off magic and vowed to live a completely mundane life. When her mother dies, Alfhild is shocked to discover that she has inherited an inn, several rental cottages, and most of a village(!) from her late father — a fact her mother kept secret. When Alfhild arrives, she finds the inn rundown, the property unkempt, and a dead body on the back porch …. Alfhild is determined to make a go of the inn, but someone is standing in her way. Can Alfhild uncover their plans before it’s too late …?

I enjoy cozy paranormal mysteries, but finding books that can hold my attention are few and far between. It is a surprisingly difficult formula to master; books are either slow and boring, or so sweet they make my teeth hurt. Wycherley’s The Wonkiest Witch, then, was a happy discovery.

First, the characters. Alfhild is great. She’s deeply sympathetic, and also empathetic; she cares for the people around her, and wants to do the best for those she suddenly finds under her care. The supporting cast varies from the adorable (a particularly friendly owl) to the mysterious (the local coven leader) to the menacing (a rival innkeeper).

I also love how Alfhild grows into her magic over the course of the book. After spending so much of her life ignoring her abilities, she turns to them initially only because she has to do so; she needs magic to save the inn. But then she gradually comes to realize what she has been missing: the wonder, the joy, and the connection to all those who came before her.

If I have one complaint, it concerns the revelations about Alfhild’s father. No spoilers, but I felt that not enough clues were scattered through the text for the reader to figure out what had happened to him. The revelation should have been an “a-ha!” moment, not a “hunh?” moment.

That being said, I quite enjoyed The Wonkiest Witch, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Recommended to fans of The Lost Library series by Kate Baray; Bell, Book, and Murder by Rosemary Edghill; and A Wiccan Wheel Mystery series by Jennifer David Hesse.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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