Berkley, Nov 2008, $4.00
In Sugar Maple, Vermont, being the daughter of a sorcerer, Chloe Hobbs knows the rules that to inherit her magical power she must fall in love. However, half-breed Chloe, owner of Sticks and Strings knit shop in the northern side of the New England state, has vowed to never repeat her mom’s error of tragically falling in love with a mortal; only the paranormal hunks will do for her.
Boston Homicide Detective Luke MacKenzie is loaned to Vermont to investigate a murder in Sugar Maple when he and Chloe meet. They are attracted to one another, but he is a dreaded human. Still Chloe begins to fall in love, which means she needs to learn how to use her powers even as she must choose between Luke and her town.
Whimsical and satirical, CASTING SPELLS lives up to its title as Barbara Bretton casts a spell on readers with a charming urban fantasy romantic police procedural. The lead couple is a delightful pairing as Chloe’s brains says no, her heart says yes; Luke is confused with what he sees being done by the weird (to him) townsfolk, but is more bewildered by his feelings for the knit store owner. The whodunit is cleverly designed so that the audience will relish visiting northern Vermont in November while wanting sequels starring residents of the small New England town whose ancestors fled Salem.