Book Review: THE BISCUIT WITCH (A Crossroads Café Novella) by Deborah Smith

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Series: The MacBrides, #1
Length: 130 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Released: May 1, 2013
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Welcome back to the Crossroads Cove where new loves, old feuds, and poignant mysteries will challenge siblings Tal, Gabby, and Gus MacBride to fight for the home they lost and to discover just how important their family once was, and still is, to the proud people of the Appalachian highlands.

Tallulah MacBride hasn’t been back to North Carolina since their parents’ tragic deaths, twenty years ago. But now, Tal heads to cousin Delta Whittlespoon’s famous Crossroads Café in the mountains above Asheville, hoping to find a safe hiding place for her young daughter, Eve.

What she finds is Cousin Delta gone, the café in a biscuit crisis, and a Scotsman, who refuses to believe she’s passing through instead of “running from.” He believes she needs a knight in shining flannel.

When a pair of sinister private eyes show up, Tal’s troubles are just beginning.

For Tal’s brother and sister—Gabby, the Pickle Queen, and Gus, the Kitchen Charmer—the next part of the journey will lead down forgotten roads and into beautiful but haunted legacies.

———

This is the first book in Deborah Smith’s The MacBrides series, which is a spin off of her novel, THE CROSSROADS CAFE. While THE BISCUIT WITCH can be read stand alone, I think I would have gotten a better sense of the place and characters had I read THE CROSSROADS CAFE first. THE BISCUIT WITCH is a novella, and things happened very fast.

Tal is on the run with her five-year old daughter, Eve. Looking for a place to hide out, the mother and daughter head to Tal’s hometown in the mountains of North Carolina, hoping to get help from Cousin Delta, owner of the cafe. But when they arrive, Delta’s gone, and instead they meet up with a sexy Scotsman named Doug Firth. He’s the local veterinarian, and he has a soft spot for any creature in trouble. Immediately he can sense trouble surrounding Tal and Eve. Tal’s not looking for a knight in shining armor, but she’s smart enough to accept help when offered.

THE BISCUIT WITCH is a big, complex story compacted into a short 130 pages. For me, Doug and Tal’s love story and the bond that formed between Doug and Eve was way too rushed. Sure, it was sweet, but not realistic. The point of view alternated between Doug and Tal, and it switched a lot, sometimes abruptly. There were a few times I was confused about whose head I was in.

I did enjoy learning the MacBride family secrets, and what they mean for Tal and her troubled siblings in the rest of the series. I also liked the magical realism in this book. Tal had a couple of unique gifts, one of which was her enchanted baking, though I wished that part had been fleshed out more too.

There’s no resolution to the MacBride Family mystery in this book, though it does set a strong foundation for the rest of the series. I am very curious to see how the siblings’ story plays out, so I’ll probably continue on with the next book.

Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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