By Annette Blair
Published by Penguin
Beautiful bad girl Storm Cartwright can be charming when she wants to be. So when she hears the sound of a baby crying every time she’s near Aiden McCloud, she turns on the charm. Because she sure the weeping means a child is in need – and that the handsome antiques restorer is the key to finding that helpless child…
From the start, Aiden is attracted to Storm. Yet this gorgeous goth girl won’t stop talking baby nonsense. Then Storm sets up a seductive trap, kidnapping him in his very own RV! While Storm follows the sound of the cries, something magical starts happening between her and Aiden. But can they keep the magic alive once Storm finally finds what she’s looking for?
Jmo: I feel that I have an unfair advantage in this review. I started reading Annette Blair way back with The Kitchen Witch. This newest addition to the series is by far the best and most original. The story just kept twisting me around. I think I lost a night’s sleep trying to get to the end.
MorganO: It was my first book by AB and I did lose sleep to finish it. And I tell you, DH was not happy about it.
Jmo: Great minds definitely know what they like. I've been waiting for Storm's story since the triplets showed up in The Scot, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Blair has set up a world beyond just romance. She's created a family atmosphere in her books. With the introduction of each character you get a well developed part of this world, not just some add on accessory. Blair is one of the few writers who can do that with secondary players and make you WANT to know the rest of their story.
MorganO: I got a good sense of the secondary characters and their stories without feeling buried in backstory. That's a tricky thing to handle and she did it very well. Of course, I want to read the rest of her books and will seek those out in order when I can scare up the funds to purchase them.
JMo: Yes, the books are part of a whole, but you can read them separately. A lot of writers who force you to read their backlog to make sense of the book.
MorganO: I appreciate that, but I'm also a linear kind of reader. I WANT to start with the first one and adore publishers who put the list in the front of the book. Especially those who list them in order. Some publishing houses don't and then it falls to the author to do it on their website. Of course, not all authors are accommodating there either which drives me up tree. (BTW, Annette's website is very helpful with this problem http://annetteblair.com/)
JMo: Let’s get on with the story. I’m a big fan of a bad boy, good girl story. Of course in Gone with the Witch we get a bad boy bad girl story. You know it’s going to be a fun ride when Storm handcuffs Aiden to the bed and kidnaps him with his own motor home.
MorganO: Loved that scene. Once had someone threaten to do that to me. Some kind of fantasy there!
JMo: Didn’t you love the stopover at the diner?
MorganO: I think I really loved the carnival best. The clown. I think it was the blue hair that did it for me. Or was it the elephants?
JMo: Gone with the Witch is more than just a romp around New England. Blair gives us a solid plot that draws you along with the story. And the way she let the characters and their relationship develop floored me. By the end she stripped them both down and laid them bare. You rarely see characters so humanized in that way.
MorganO: I liked how it all pulled together, angst right up to nearly the last page.
JMo: I loved the interplay of the paranormal with the real world. She made it all so believable.
JMo: Which is not as easy as it sounds.
MorganO: I also loved the surprises. The mother who didn’t fit anybody’s idea of a dream mom. I also liked how they kept trying to call her someone else’s mom. No one wanted to claim her. I won’t give it all away, but there were plenty of twists I didn’t see coming and if I did think I had it figured out, there was one more little twist to throw me off. I like that in a book.
I know you’re going to give this a 5, Jmo, and since we round up, I’ll agree. Would have given it a 4.5, but the kidnap and witty dialogue tips it over for me. I’ll be looking for all the books leading up to this one, for sure.
JMo: You called that one right. 5 all the way. Solid story. Characters you can't get enough of. Twists that kept you guessing and an ending that had me sniffly. If that's not a 5, I don't know what is.