Sunday, April 17, 2016

Witches With The Enemy - Barb Hendee

Witches With The Enemy
A Novel Of The Mist-Torn Witches
Barb Hendee

Celine and Amelie are sisters and seers.  They operate an apothecary in a prosperous village under the protection of Prince Anton.  It wasn’t always this way.  They were forced to leave the village of their birth just a year ago, running for their lives from Prince Damek’s guardsmen.  When Celine refused to lie to a girl about what her life would be like married to Damek, the prince ordered both sisters killed and their home burned to the ground.  Known for his cruelty and volatility, the news that he plans to marry comes as a surprise.  The lady, Rochelle, is young, beautiful, and very sweet. 

But there’s a snag.  Rochelle and her family are currently at Damek’s castle, hammering out the details of the upcoming union.  The chief negotiator, Carlotta, Rochelle’s rather unpleasant older sister, suddenly dropped dead the previous evening after taking a sip of the local wine.  This could obviously stall or end the negotiations.  And that would make Damek look bad in his father’s eyes.  Since their father will determine which of his sons (Damek or Anton) will inherit, this is a serious concern.  And that’s how Anton finds himself in the bizarre position of asking Celine and Amelie to ride to the aid of his older brother, lifelong tormentor, and direct competitor.

This series is so much fun.  In each installment, we learn a bit more about the sisters.  This time, we also get some very interesting background on the brother princes.  It fleshes out both characters, elevating them from the obvious good/bad dichotomy that’s been enough until now.  The sisters are, of course, terrified to be returning to a place controlled by Damek, but Anton pledges his protection.  One points out that this might be a ruse to lure Anton in and kill him, leaving his brother as the only heir by default.  Anton has some pretty believable reasons for going in spite of that.

The story is the third in a series (THE MIST-TORN WITCHES, WITCHES IN RED) that mixes fantasy and mystery to great effect.  Celine and Amelie are Mist Torn witches.  Celine can see the future, and Amelie can see the past.  It takes their skills as seers in addition to their intelligence and observations to stop the killings (another death occurs the night they arrive.)  There’s a subplot running through the proceedings that I didn’t anticipate, but it added to the whole.  If you enjoy fantasy, mysteries that may end in the paranormal, or both, you should take a look at this author.

Rating: 7 ½
May 2015
ISBN# 978-0-451-47199-8 (paperback)


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