Stray Witch – Eva Alton

I’ve been through a lot of emotional ups and downs lately. The umpteenth semi-lockdown hit me hard, and I’ve come to the realization that I miss having friends over beyond what I thought was possible. I’m trying to see a bright side: more time with the kids, more time to redecorate the living room. Time.

What is the saying? When life gives you lemons…

…Have a tequila shot.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for mood boosters for a couple of weeks now, finding solace in my favorite kind of read: paranormal romance. Yes, I’m a sucker for vampire love stories. The concept behind them, the idea that love can be stronger than one’s nature, is a fucking lie tempting and sweet at the same time.

To keep up with this tradition, today I’m reviewing Stray Witch, written by the talented Eva Alton.

Alba, a mother of two, is going through a rough divorce. Her life seems to change for the best when she meets Clarence, vampire and scout for the vampire queen of Emberbury, but things might not be what they seem, and soon Alba is torn between her feelings and her fears. And a desperate need for money.

Clarence is an old school vampire on a redemption path, while Alba is a woman who has lost herself. She’s a stray, both as a witch and as a person: no close family, no real friends. While she’s not looking for her tribe, it’s pretty clear she needs one. Her arc is one many women can relate with, and this is the reason why empathizing with her is so easy. In fact, I found myself rooting for her and her two daughters from the very beginning, especially given the situation they are running away from.

Let’s also talk about Francesca. She’s so kind and sweet despite her horrible life, and this, my friends, is life goals. Don’t you just love how some characters are able to remain human even if they’ve been through hell? She’s the epitome of acceptance, and I wish I could be just a tiny bit like her.

Truth be told, all the vampire characters are interesting, and I love the fact that they live in nests. It’s been a while since the last time I’ve read of vampire communities and I always love to read that kind of dynamic. I appreciate the vamps’ aversion to modernity and how Alba is able to slowly win them over, and I can’t wait to know how their whole living situation is going to develop.

Which leads me to the main point of this review. Alba takes her children with her into a vampire nest. Now, I don’t read stories including children. I have two, I love them to bits, but I also need literature to escape from them from time to time. As I scrolled the first pages and noticed that the main character had two daughters I felt tempted to put the book down and pretend I’d never started it, but it kept luring me back in. Yup, it is this good! I liked Alba’s voice too much and I needed know what was going to happen to her, so I kept going. The more I read, the more I was compelled to read more, and in the end I’m glad I did, because it was such a nice journey.

My only pet peeve? Taxis. In Eva Alton‘s world, vampires have no reflection, and for this reason they try to avoid mirrors. Clarence has no issues whatsoever with getting a taxi with Alba though, and this puzzles me. I mean, cars have a rearview mirror, and taxi drivers here in Italy tend to glance at the mirror to check on their passengers –yes, we are nosy people–. It is kinda natural actually, I do the same with my kids all the time. And yet Alba and Clarence take two cabs together and no mention of this is made. So here I am, still wondering why their drivers never freaked out.

This issue aside, I really liked this book. It worked well, it was interesting, and it made me want to know more about the nest dynamics, Alba’s powers and her relationship with Clarence. And, most importantly, about witches. I can’t wait to read the next book. All in all, I’d rate it 7.5/10, which rounds to 4 stars on Goodreads. Great job!

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