Foster Owen is a successful mystery author, but she is in quite a slump. It’s been three years since her last book and deadlines have come and gone. To alleviate her writer’s block, Foster’s agent books her to ghost write the memoir of a reclusive heiress who lives in Spencer’s Cove, California.
Abigail Spencer is painfully shy and rarely leaves the safety of her family estate, even if it is rumored to be haunted. She spends her time rehabilitating abused and abandoned horses and avoiding human contact at all costs and for good reason.
When Forrest arrives, she begins doing research into the Spencer family history and begins to find some very unusual family secrets that date back to the Salem witch trials. At the same time, Abby’s nightmares and visions begin to increase and they seem to be linked to what Foster is discovering. Abby and Foster are unusually drawn to each other and they soon find out that their pairing is no coincidence.
Can love defeat the dark forces meant to kill Abby and besiege the world?
When I think of mystery writers, Foster Owen is the image I conjure up in my mind. She’s got a very appealing androgynous vibe about her with her vintage blazers and eye glasses, her classic oxfords, and of course, her perfectly tousled hair. (I’m pretty sure in lesfic, tousled hair is always effortlessly perfect.) Foster has misgivings about writing the memoir of a rich, old woman who probably has seventeen cats, but bills must be paid. I enjoyed seeing the surprises Foster meets when she arrives in Spencer’s Cove. Foster is used to dealing in facts and she is not prepared for the super natural accounts she discovers. I couldn’t help but wonder if this laid-back writer had an adventurer’s heart.
Abigail Foster is a complex character. Upon meeting her, we find a profound introvert who suffers from anxiety attacks. She is so fragile it feels like one harsh word might shatter her. Despite that, she is naturally kindhearted and compassionate. Her other-worldly nightmares seem somehow familiar and when a total stranger arrives at the Spencer Estate, Abby knows that she will dismiss the woman come morning. Quickly, we see this version of Abby transform into a strong and self-possessed woman. Armed with the knowledge of her destiny, Abby becomes prepared to meet evil head on. I like these particular types of characters in the books I read. The vulnerability inherent in their personalities make them exceedingly relatable for this introvert and when they break out of their confined perceptions of themselves, I can’t help but cheer for them.
While Foster and Abby are the main characters in this romance, Evan Bell is worth special attention as a primary secondary character because she has a significant role in the plot. Her actions often drive the narrative. If I were to look up “capable” in a dictionary, I have no doubt that the definition would include, “…see Evan Bell.” Evan carries a profound guilt with her that fuels her determination to protect Abby. She is none too pleased when Foster rolls into Spencer’s Cove and she immediately questions Foster’s motives. The biggest question for me in this book was whether Evan was going to be able to put her ego and possessiveness aside for Abby’s wellbeing.
The Writing Style
With writing three major characters, Vaun takes on the task of telling this story from three points of view. I’ve seen other authors attempt this, but not with the fluidity found in this book. There are no instances of head-hopping where I had to refer back to previous pages to figure out whose point of view I was inhabiting because she did such a great job of giving each character a completely distinctive voice.
Vaun’s descriptions of Northern California with its awe-inspiring, rugged coastal cliffs in conjunction with the gloomy weather gives this book a foreboding feel. It’s as if the climate and the landscape are main characters.
As far as pacing goes, once all three main characters have been introduced, the book moves from moody and mysterious to an all-out fight to save the world from dark forces. This is quite a ride.
I was especially fascinated with the historical take on the Salem witch trials that Vaun weaves into this story. It’s an intriguing feminist interpretation and I’m a history nerd so I could have gone down this rabbit hole for days.
Not a one.
Paranormal romance has never been a “must read” for me, but my goodness did Spencer’s Cove get me hooked. I was 100% all in after the first couple of pages and I wanted to call in sick, so I could stay home from work to immerse myself in this story. I’ve always enjoyed Missouri Vaun’s books and I’m impressed with how she moves between genres with such ease. As paranormal stories go, this one left me thinking, “Hmm, I wish I was part of that world” and I’ve never read a book featuring vampires or weres that left me with that feeling. To sum it up, witches rock and Vaun made me a believer. I hope you check it out.
Excerpt from Spencer’s Cove by Missouri Vaun
Foster didn’t finish the thought.
She stepped around the nearest grave and reached for Abby’s hand.
Evan was too slow to stop her.
Foster grasped Abby’s wrist to offer comfort, a very normal thing to do under any other similar circumstances. But the moment they made skin to skin contact a deafening crack struck down from above. A boom, as if the sound barrier had been breached, and an arc of intense light encircled Foster and Abby for only a second before it rippled outward, knocking Evan to the ground. Charged particles hung in the air around Foster and Abby like fireflies before the particles broke apart and sifted to the ground like stardust. Foster was still holding Abby’s hand but had dropped to one knee as if she were about to propose.
What the fuck?
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Bits and Bobs
- AISN number: B07MW8SJYS
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Missouri Vaun Online
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