Borage by Gill McKnight

The Plague Tree Coven Book 1

A deceptively light story, skilfully tackling deeper issues.

What was the book about?
Astral Projector is an extra-nice Fireside witch, still grieving the death of her Grandma Lettice, the previous High Priestess of the Plague Tree Coven. The new High Priestess, Magdalene Curdle, hates her for unknown reasons. It’s all the more surprising as Astral is not a very talented witch, and can’t be seen as anyone’s competition, unlike her grandmother and her elusive mother Myriad, whose unexplained disappearance isn’t helping Astral feel confident. Not helping either is her familiar, a cranky and unfriendly cat named Borage. Astral should be the last witch the coven turns to in time of trouble. So why is Magdalene sending her undercover to Black and Blacker Finances and its terrifying yet terribly sexy CEO Abby Black? In all this nonsense, Astral can fortunately count on her two best friends, Dulcie, a Hedgewitch, and Keeva, a Dogwitch. I’ll stop there because I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say that no one is what or who they seem to be.

Featured Tropes: Witches ; Workplace romance ; Ice Queen ; Paranormal ; Cats

Book Strengths:
The world-building is awesome, I kept being surprised and at the same time it all felt very consistent, very natural in an unexpected way. Often with sci-fi or fantasy stories, the worlds they’re set in feel unfamiliar and disorienting. Which I love. But I also love when it all flows seamlessly, when it’s just a twist on what’s familiar. I almost expect to see fighting Irish blue geraniums in my garden now. It makes for a spellbinding atmosphere, and some very amusing scenes. I laughed a lot reading this book, and can’t get the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack out of my head. The various characters are excellent too, Astral is adorable, Abby, who keeps playing against type, is fascinating, and there’s this whole secondary cast of witches, familiars and other magic beings…

Character Chemistry:
Abby Black is a fascinating character and right from the start it’s obvious Astral won’t be able to resist her. At first, Astral doesn’t know what to make of Abby, and is definitely not expecting the first kiss when it comes, magical and all. The chemistry keeps growing, but it’s a very slow burn romance, the first book in a series, the romance is in its beginning stages.

Heat Rating: 3

Wrap up:
This book made me realise how much I’ve been missing by not getting to Gill McKnight’s books before. It’s riveting and funny and sexy all at the same time.

Star Rating: 4.5

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