Kiss and Spell is lovely. Celestine Martin has taken the small town witch romance and married it to the fairytale inspired romance and put her own spin on both. Celestine Martin’s writing is magical. I’ll be reading a scene, and suddenly she’ll turn a phrase so that I can see the longing, the sparkle, and the glitter. Kiss and Spell is a confection with just enough weight to not overwhelm with sweet.
Ursula was a bit of an antagonist in Witchful Thinking. She was engaged to the son of one of the most powerful and snooty families in Freya’s Grove and ran over her cousins while trying to please her future in laws. In the end, her intended left her at the alter anyway. She is reconsidering the value of charming princes and fairytale loves when she meets Xavier, a cursed (or enchanted) fae prince who must have a perfect kiss by mid summer or be exiled from the fairy realm forever. Xavier isn’t interested in love, he just wants to sit in his garden, tending plants and reading books. He feels like he is being forced to be someone he is not, in order to attract love. And unlike the usual fairy tale, there are no wicked step mothers. There are meddling dads trying to make their grown children into the people they want them to be.
Because this is a good romance, we know that in the end, Xavier and Ursula must be themselves in order to find true love. Continuing the theme from Witchful Thinking, true happiness requires courage. It takes courage to be who you are, and you cannot be happy if you cannot be fully yourself. Xavier and Ursula are so clearly themselves with each other and yet their doubts persist because being liked for who they are feels foreign to them.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.