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By Geraldine Burrows

IR Rating:
WIT AND WITCHERY by Geraldine Burrows starts as a well-crafted homage to Jane Austen before veering into an occasionally grim yet utterly delicious melodrama.
IR Approved
A well-bred country witch clashes with a tall, dark, handsome lord in this steamy historical romance.

Annis Fulton is a woman of many secrets. She is the most recent heiress to one of the oldest witch families in England and following the death of her abusive husband, she is fiercely intent on preserving her independence and family estate – a significant undertaking for a woman in 1816. Annis repeatedly clashes with the dashing and dangerous Lord Nicholas Ryder but the pair has to put aside their differences after they meet Belle Barlow, who not only owns an infamous London brothel, but might also be a practitioner of blood magic.

WIT AND WITCHERY by Geraldine Burrows is a novel of two equally entertaining but tonally vastly different parts. The initial chapters are a deliberate Jane Austen pastiche featuring a battle of wits and wills between two people fascinated by each other. The fact that one of them is a witch considerably spices things up. Can Annis perform white magic? She certainly believes so. As for the author, Burrows leaves this at least somewhat open to interpretation. And then, about midway through, the book dramatically changes its tone. As Annis and Nicholas descend into London’s criminal underworld, they encounter ruffians, beggars, prostitutes, and a mastermind willing to sacrifice others to advance her goals. There are intrigues, perils, narrow escapes, and fates worse than death. It’s not that the novel gets worse. It’s that the author drops her readers from the land of Jane Austen straight into a penny dreadful territory. Suddenly, previous chapters feel frivolous compared to the misery of London’s teeming masses and the dangers that threaten our protagonists. Readers will need some time to get used to this shift. Furthermore, it becomes impossible for the novel to return to its earlier, more innocent tone. While both portions are perfectly entertaining by themselves, they co-exist somewhat uneasily.

Nevertheless, this is but a minor quibble. Geraldine Burrows’ WIT AND WITCHERY lives up to the promise of its title. There’s both wit and witchery aplenty, as well as drama, danger, and a steamy romance (bodices will get ripped). Both neophytes and more experienced fans of the genre will find much to enjoy in this entertaining novel. And who knows? There might be further adventures of Annis Fulton and Nicholas Ryder ahead.

WIT AND WITCHERY by Geraldine Burrows starts as a well-crafted homage to Jane Austen before veering into an occasionally grim yet utterly delicious melodrama.

~Danijel Štriga for IndieReader

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