Review by Kayleigh

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Series Name: Witchlore, #2 

There’s the hint of a smile on his hard mouth. “Fate is not the absence of choice. It is the presence of it. Each choice you make will lead you to a different fate. This did not have to happen. Just because a thing is meant doesn’t make it so. You and your sister and your friends were not fated to stop any flood, but you managed it. You all could have as easily died, if different choices were made.”

Big Little Spells is a delightfully steamy and magical return to St. Cyprian and the Witchlore series.   

Rebekah Wilde was eighteen when she left St. Cyprian, officially stripped of her magic and banished from her home. Ten years later, she’s forced to return to face the Joywood Coven, who preside over not just her hometown but the whole magical world. Rebekah is happy to reunite with her sister, and with her friends, but the implications of her return are darker and more dangerous than they could have imagined.

The Joywood are determined to prove Rebekah and her friends are a danger to witchkind, and her group faces an impending death sentence if they can’t prove otherwise. Rebekah must seek help from the only one who knows how to stop the Joywood—the ruthless immortal Nicholas Frost. Years ago, he was her secret tutor in magic, and her secret impossible crush. But the icy immortal is as remote and arrogant as ever, and if he feels anything for Rebekah—or witchkind—it’s impossible to tell.

I loved this book! It was the perfect follow up to last year’s Small Town, Big Magic – the first in the Whitchlore series. One of my gripes of the first book was that there was a lot of world building. It paid off in book two – you really get thrown into the action of the book, which picks up right after the first book. You should read the first book in the series to understand what’s happening though; I think you’d be confused if you don’t. 

I loved returning to St. Cyprian. Book two features Rebekah, the younger sister of book one’s main hero, Emerson. In book one Rebekah seems petulant and clearly has some secrets she’s hiding. All is revealed in Big Little Spells. Watching Rebekah come into her own and learn about her trauma and why she left town at 18 was so interesting. She’s got a lot of depth. I also loved watching her return home and see how she interacts with old friends and enemies. 

There’s one friend whom I loved watching her mix with (sly smile). She crashes into Nicholas Frost in book one, and in book two we see them really connect. It turns out Nicholas, an immortal witch with serious Stern Brunch Daddy vibes, was her tutor ten years ago before she failed her witchling test and was cast out of town. Rebekah always had a thing for him, but knew he wouldn’t be into a teenage human. Well, let’s just say that there’s a lot of mutual pining and sniping and then some terrific combustion. I adored watching Rebekah and Nicholas fall for each other. They both have some serious baggage that they work through alone and together. Rebekah is a bold, brave and brash woman. Nicholas is mysterious, quiet and commanding. He’s giving Mr. Darcy vibes mixed with Mr. Rochester (with no hidden wives in attics) in the best way. There’s some fantastic and spicy love scenes between them that had me grinning as I read. What is it about watching taciturn men lose all control over the woman that they love that feels so good? 

Returning to St. Cyprian felt like returning to a long lost friend, which is really Rebekah’s experience. Through her story, and the challenge she and her coven have to overcome, we learn more about what’s actually happening in town and why the ruling witches, called the Joywood, are trying to control everyone. I really liked the scenes where Rebekah and Emerson and the gang are back together doing magic and learning how to be a unit again. 

While I won’t spoil the ending, I really really really loved it and how it set up the next two books in the series. My favourite character surprised me: it’s Emerson and Rebekah’s mother, who basically disowned them when they failed their witch test and left the country. She returns with their dad and it doesn’t start off well, let’s just say. You get to learn a lot more about her and the witch families in this book. Her actions at the end had me cheering and slightly misty eyed. 

All in all this is a terrific addition to the Witchlore series and has me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. 

Thank you, Graydon House Books, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.