I love this and I hope everyone in the coven gets a book.
To recap, in Witch, Please we met Danica and Clementine Waterhouse, cousins who share a home in a small Midwestern town and co-own a repair shop called Fix-It Witches. They are witches, from a family of witches and part of a coven. While Danica is reluctantly falling in love with Titus, her magic is spiking, which attracts the attention of a witch hunter. Clem volunteers to distract and divert the witch hunter. It becomes clear that Clem has developed a sexual relationship and maybe even feelings for the hunter.
Boss Witch overlaps in time and plot with Witch, Please. It continues the theme of extricating oneself from toxic family dynamics. Because Clem is very different from Danica, the tone and feeling of Boss Witch is very different. It’s an enemies to lovers romance with actual consequences before Clem and Gavin get an HEA.
Gavin Rhys doesn’t like being a witch hunter, but he doesn’t know how to escape. His father, always disapproving, is the head of the witch hunter’s organization and raised him to be a loyal foot soldier in the holy crusade against witches. When he rides into the small town looking for the source of the magic spike, he is as far from his father as he’s ever been an more interested in figuring out how to not be a witch hunter than in finding the witch. When he falls into Clem’s honey pot, he is more than happy to spend time with an interesting woman. But they have agreed that there is a time limit on their relationship.
The emotion I felt most reading this romance was yearning. Yearning with a capital Y. It permeates the book from beginning to end. Gavin yearns for connection, home and family. Clem yearns for someone to care about her for her and not for what she can do for them. Gavin and Clem are both inherently kind people put into untenable situations by their families. Clem is a problem solver, so even when she’s trying to solve the problem of Gavin being in town, she also finds solutions for him. She’s finding solutions, cleaning up messes and trying to avert disaster so much you can feel her exhaustion and yearning for someone to be her oasis. Gavin, of all people, the huge threat to her safety and the safety of her loved ones, gives her more of that oasis than anyone else.
Gavin, and the witch hunters league have caused real harm in the world. So how can Gavin have a happily ever after with a witch? Ann Aguirre answers with genuine remorse and restorative justice. I love this. One of the reasons I gravitate towards the liberation wing of romance, is because the stories aren’t just about falling in love, but also making the world a better place, even if it’s just one small sliver of the world. Clem and Gavin’s relationship doesn’t solidify because he gives a good grovel, but because he accepts responsibility and puts in the work to undo what harm he can.
Ann Aguirre does a beautiful job balancing the light and the dark in Boss Witch. I really think this might be my favorite book of hers so far.
CW: Toxic families, threats of violence, remembered trauma.
I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley and Sourcebooks. My opinions are my own.