It’s been a while since witches had to worry about being burnt at the stake…
Forty-nine, English and a professional crone, Sophronia is touring America when she is forced to spend the night at a run-down motel on the Californian coast. Her expectations aren’t high- – if the bed’s clean and the toilet flushes she’ll count herself lucky. But events are about to become far more interesting. The motel owner is a juvenile witch unaware of her heritage and in dire need of help, especially when vampires turn up…
Source: Review copy from the author
This book is so much fun, although it is a paranormal romance without the romance. I absolutely loved Sophronia. She has a very distinct voice, not to mention a touch of arrogance when it comes to being the older witch, isn’t above patronising others, has a definite taste for sarcasm and frequently refers to herself as a coward, but my goodness, she’s a lot of fun.
I love a well written older heroine and Sophronia is definitely that. She has experience of both magic and the world and she’s no fool when it comes to facing vampires. I loved the contrast between her opinion of them as feudalistic tyrants compared to Charlie’s somewhat starry (or should that be twinkly) eyed version. Then again, poor Charlie can hardly be expected to know better. When Sophronia meets her, she’s a barely adult woman taking care of a rundown motel, whose boyfriend is a vampire. Charlie’s also a witch and has no idea what’s going on around her until Sophronia crashes into her life.
And from there things only get more complicated, dangerous and enjoyable. Sophronia is strictly no nonsense as she makes it abundantly clear that she has no time for vampires. Unfortunately for her, vampires – and in particular the local ruler of them, Hagan – have plenty of interest in her. Because she’s a crone, with plenty of years of magical experience behind her. Hagan is urbane, well-mannered and arrogant and has no intention of letting her leave.
Despite her personal opinion of her own cowardice, Sophronia is really anything but. She’s not afraid of bossing around young vampires or talking back to Hagan, she also develops quite a soft spot for Charlie and can’t help wanting to save her if she can. In fact she’s quite noble in her own way. Not to mention so English at times that it almost hurts. I actually found some of the opening comparisons between England and America a tiny bit annoying, but that’s probably because I’m British myself – other people might find it cute. Also the tea. So much tea. Then again Sophronia has plenty of need for a nice calming beverage, so I should probably let her off.
The plot itself is a steady grower, starting with witches and vampires and branching out into local politics and family issues and widening to include some unexpected danger. I found Sophronia compelling and amusing enough that nothing ever felt slow or dull, simply because she was in charge. As for the way things developed with Hagan… interesting, is about all I can say.
If I’m honest some aspects towards the end did feel like they came out of nowhere – a certain conversation about Sophronia’s history – and the ending itself is definitely open ended for book two. Also, if you’re expecting a paranormal romance, there isn’t any romance to speak of except in a very subtle fashion. However, that didn’t bother me a bit and I really enjoyed this read.
If you like witches or older heroines or like your vampires with their predatory instincts firmly in place, then you’ll probably like this – especially if you enjoy a strongly voiced narrator and plenty of wit. All I know is that I’ll definitely be reading the next one some time soon.
Sophronia and the Vampire is Out Now!
Visit Jacqueline Farrell for more details.