Title: Drinks and Sinkholes (The Weary Dragon Inn Book One)
Publisher: Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing
Author: S. Usher Evans
Price: $17.99 / $2.99
Publication Date: 5 September 2023
Five years ago, a woman wandered into the village of Pigsend with no memory. Given shelter and a job by Wim the innkeeper, she was nicknamed Beverage Wench by the locals — which evolved into Bev. She became part of the community and eventually inherited the inn. But now her home, her livelihood, and her found family and friends are threatened by, of all things, sinkholes. They are appearing all over town, damaging buildings and injuring the residents. The people of Pigsend decide that Bev is the best person to investigate … but every answer just leads to more questions which, in turn, take her one step closer to remembering a past best left forgotten ….
Drinks and Sinkholes popped up as a Kickstarter recommendation. After reading the description, I decided to back the first book. Now I’m sorry that I didn’t expand my support and pick up the second book, as well.
Pigsend is a wonderful little burg, filled with quirky and relatable characters. It reminds me a bit of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. There’s a mayor who always seems to know the right thing to say (which is often vacuous nonsense), a sheriff who’s cute but dimmer than a snuffed out candle, a baker desperate for magic, a secretive librarian, a pair of wifely butchers, feuding farmers, and much more. Bev loves them all, even when they get angry and short tempered.
She has problems, though, with the soldiers boarding at her inn. They are on some secret mission for the Queen and, while some in Pigsend supported Her Majesty in the late civil war, not everyone did. And now the Queen is systematically outlawing any magic or magical species that she doesn’t find “useful.” Bev worries that the soldiers are in Pigsend hunting for people with hidden, forbidden magic … but there may be more to their mission than that ….
Drinks and Sinkholes is a heartwarming cozy fantasy-mystery. Bev is a delight, always looking for the best in people, but willing to fight to defend what she loves. The people of Pigsend are wonderfully ordinary: they love and argue and reconcile, share tea and rosemary bread, stick their noses into one another’s business, gossip, and pull together when danger threatens them all.
Here’s hoping there are lots of adventures to come for Bev and the people of Pigsend.
Highly recommended to fans of A Rival Most Vial by RK Ashwick, The Terra Haven series by Rebecca Chastain, and the Book Shop Witch series by T. Thorn Coyle.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]