Book Review – Bell, Book & Candlemas (A Wiccan Wheel Mystery 2) by Jennifer David Hesse.

3 out of 5 stars

This is another book I can thank myself for, as it’s one I bought rather than be sent to review. I bought it for two reasons. One was because – quite frankly – I deserved it. 😉 And, secondly, it’s the second book in the ‘A Wiccan Wheel Mystery’ series and I enjoyed the first one so much I just had to buy it to see how the series went on.

I will, however, give a shout out to Kensington Books who published it, as they introduced me to this series, and send me fabulous books all the time.

It is also another book I read last year, but am only just now writing a review for. Don’t worry, I still remember it!

‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’ continues to follow the life of lawyer, vegan, and private Wiccan Kelli as she helps out her friend – and fellow Wiccan – who is being threatened by an unknown enemy. I could go on, but why repeat the blurb that you can read anywhere? I was really just showing that I remembered the book. 😉

Now, as my regular readers should know, I’m a Pagan… but do not identify as Wiccan. They do things I agree with… some that I don’t. But it’s the open, honest Pagan faith shown in this book that I feel attracts me and makes me want to read on. I’m not too sure if those with a more close minded Christian approach will find the same connection, but the passion of the protagonist’s faith and the honesty in the writing of it by the author is what helped me become a fan of ‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’ and the rest of the series. The last thing I like seeing in a book written in today’s more open minded ways is one that misrepresents Pagans. And, for any Wiccan about to complain that she doesn’t represent the Wiccan faiths that well, just shush. The character is a solitary and, to me, that gives them the freedom to follow the faith their own way. I mean, as a long as we all intentionally harm none, what is the problem?

So, as you can guess, I found the characters very relatable and therefore found the storyline appealing. You really need to like the setting and the people to enjoy a story, and that has been done exceedingly well in ‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’.

For those not interested in the faith part of the book, don’t panic! There is still the crime/ murder/ whodunit mystery side of things to enjoy. And it is the mystery side that is the main theme of the book. Yes Kelli is a Wiccan and a vegan, but these things aren’t rammed down the readers throat, they’re just part of who she is and part of the character and world building that makes ‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’ so enjoyable.

As a cosy/ mystery, ‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’ is that perfect balance of the character’s lives, whodunit red herrings, and crime solving. It’s another small town (or small city?) mystery, believable and relatable characters, and well-paced plot. All the things I look for in a cosy crime.

Book nerd side of things, the editing, layout, etc was perfect. But I expected this because it was a bought book, rather than an ARC. I can accept clangers and formatting issues in an ARC, but never in a finished piece. So I was not disappointed.

Buy on Amazon (affiliated link).

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I mean, there are those who are going to expect a supernatural undertone – based on the series Wiccan Wheel name – and yeah, they’re going to get disappointed. The Wiccan in this book is spiritual, faith based… not the whacky out there witches of supernatural themed tales. And I would emphasise this to potential readers.

But for those who love a well-balanced cosy, with a small town/ city America background, where the protagonist is a strong willed, determined, spiritual woman – I can see you enjoying ‘Bell, Book & Candlemas’.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Come on guys, you know the answer to this one! I did buy it for myself, I found it a VERY reasonably priced eBook on Amazon Australia Kindle when I bought it (exchange rates between Australia and America make it a little higher now). Do not regret my purchase at all. In fact, I’ve bought a few more books in this series, simply to catch up with other books in this series that have been sent to me to review. I’m LOVING the ‘Wiccan Wheel Mystery’ series!

In summary: a good addition to a series I see a lot of potential in.

Until next time,

Janis.

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