I have never really been one for fantasy, supernatural or science fiction novels, even as a child; I've always preferred going for real life drama, something that I can relate to. That is why I was a little hesitant when I began Coven of One by Kate Bousfield (aka Inner Minx in the blogosphere). A story about a witch? A story about spells? A story with words like scrying, athame, Akashic, Samhain, and grimoire? I worried that it would take more than a spell for me to fall for this kind of book.
Then along came Dorcas Fleming!
I instantly fell in love with this character, relieved to find that she was a "down to earth" protagonist in a world that was very easy to relate to: the witch in this story is not often on a broomstick and not often wearing a pointed hat, and the book is not saturated with hocus-pocus. This is a story about a strong, likeable woman who just happens to be a witch. The world created by the author is totally accessible.
What made this tale so adorable for me were the universal themes that a reader is looking for when they want an escape: it's a love story (the witch even has sex!); it's a story about good and evil; it's also about the battle to be accepted, and the struggle to belong somewhere and find a raison d'être.
This is a fun and easy read that runs to 247 pages. The author, in my opinion, hasn't made the mistake of delving too deeply into witchcraft and black magic, the detail of which might have turned out to be too heavy. I believe the balance is just right, with very little getting in the way of what in essence is a feel-good story about Dorcas Fleming and her mission to save a small, remote town from a deadly curse. There is humour too, which gives Dorcas an air of mischief. The talking with cats is fantastic!
It has to be said though that the editing was disconcerting in parts, with commas missing before the closing speech mark at the end of much of the dialogue. Example: 'I miss her' he said. Some full stops were also AWOL. I wondered if this was deliberate, except that the commas were in place in other sections. Was it a problem at the printers? This is a minor grumble, however, as it didn't distract me from enjoying the book.
I look forward to the next adventure of Dorcas Fleming. I also look forward to recommending it to people who have always been suckers for fairies, gremlins and witches - my mother included. People like me will also love it. I have the sneaky feeling that this character is going to work her magic far and wide!