Title: Coven of Secrets
Author: C. J. Beaumont
Genre: Urban fantasy
Rating: Five stars
** Trigger warning – this book deals with suicide **
“A broken witch. A missing sister. A grisly murder. Once touched by darkness, always tainted. Roxanne Cole swore off magic for a reason. But now her little sister Kathryn has gone missing, and the only person willing to help is her pretty-boy nemesis, Ray Hammond. Roxy’s not sure she can trust him, but with nowhere else to turn, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance.When the coven’s high priestess also goes missing, it seems her sister’s disappearance is just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. And the more she works with Ray, the more she realizes he’s just another temptation that could add to the ever-increasing magical missing persons count. As bodies start dropping and the death toll rises, it becomes clear someone is declaring war on the Bayshore Witches. Now, if Roxy wants her little sister back, she’ll have to decide what, and who, she’s willing to sacrifice.”
* * *
I know I’ve mentioned I’m going through a dark book phase right now but Coven of Secrets is by far the darkest book I’ve read in a while.
Trigger warning: this book starts off with an attempted suicide, please be aware of this before you decide to read this book.
Roxy is a troubled witch who has denounced her magic and left her coven, but her little sister Kat is determined to get into the thick of magical business. Their grandmother hasn’t long passed when Kat helps several other young witches promote their coven and their witchy behaviour to their community at large.
Always at odds, Roxy and Kat have a difficult time communicating with each other after their grandmother passed and Kat decides to stay with their coven priestess to give each other some space. When Kat goes missing, Roxy goes on a mission to find her, even recruiting her old high-school nemesis, Ray Hammond.
But the closer Roxy gets to uncovering the truth, the more witches go missing and the more her ghostly grandmother warns her to stop looking for Kat. Undeterred and desperate, Roxy keeps searching, even when witch after witch begin disappearing from her coven.
Roxy is an abrasive main character but she has a lot of demons. The first scene depicts Roxy trying to commit suicide as the final act of a dark spell and although she doesn’t get the chance to complete it, she is forever haunted by the Shadow. This Shadow has some scary parallels to anxiety and depression, putting doubts and self-depreciating thoughts in Roxy’s head whenever she encounters a hurdle.
Despite this, Roxy pulls herself together time and time again to try and find her sister, even after several attempts are made on her life. She has an incredible strength of character even if she does push people away as often as she can.
The only part of the USA I’ve ever been to is the New York/New Jersey region and so I have no concept of the south at all. The southern town depicted in the book became very three-dimensional for me, brought very much to life with the vivid descriptions and the subtle and not-so-subtle inclusions – I’m talking rattlesnakes, people. The scariest thing I could have in my back garden is a fox. Also, a rattlesnake is a pretty cool way to send a warning, although Roxy might not agree with me.
Ray Hammond is a great love interest for Roxy: persistent, doesn’t take her crap and does his best to protect her. He handles learning about magic pretty well, too. As a human whose day to day involves dealing with other humans and their nature, his whole perception of the world is skewed when Roxy reveals her secret to him. Yet, he is still determined to be there for her, despite their rocky past.
I loved this book for its dark themes, its vivid characters and its high stakes. What I didn’t love it for was its cliffhanger. While there was an element of closure at the end of the book, when the fates of some of the witches are finally revealed, Roxy still didn’t find Kat and the mystery was even greater at the end of the book than when Kat first went missing. I’m a giant hypocrite because I’ve just finished a novel with a cliffhanger but I am always desperate to know what happens, this occasion included.
What I’m looking forward to in the sequel is a bit more closure, an advancement of Roxy and Ray’s romance and a truly epic battle between Roxy and whatever dark forces are at work that threaten her coven. I’m also anticipating Roxy will start using her magic even more, as she breaks several years of magical abstinence in Coven of Secrets and it would be amazing to see her embracing her skills again.
I highly recommend this book, just be careful of the major sensitive topic. It has earned The Secret Library’s recommended reads seal!
If you want to check out Coven of Secrets for yourself, it’s available here on Amazon, for sale or on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks for reading!