Living where the infamous pirate Blackbeard haunted in life and perhaps yet haunts in death, Chrissy Lessey has penned a spellbinding tale of the small town of Beaufort on the North Carolina coast. And the line between fact and fantasy gets blurred in the process. Some of the residents know about their family’s secret past. Other cling to the quaint rumors of their storied ancestry.
Those who have demonstrated the abilities they inherited from one or another of the three witches who settled in the town during the later part of the 18th Century have a choice whether to join the Historical Society that is a front for the coven. Those who do not choose to participate are yet expected to abide by the coven’s rules, to do no harm to others and to maintain the secret that has preserved their family heritages for centuries.
The story introduces and follows several of the current inhabitants of the small town on the North Carolina coast, and a few who have moved away. But there is some unsettled business of a supernatural nature that draws everyone back to town.
One of the intriguing aspects of the book is the loving though often challenging relationship between a young mother, Stevie – named after her own mother’s favorite musician – and her autistic son, Charlie. Through Stevie’s relationships with her mother’s friends and her best friend from high school we meet the eclectic members of the Historical Society as Stevie, a late bloomer, begins to realize she has special powers and that like her mother and all her friends, she is a witch.
This highly imaginative story, though it is fiction, weaves so much detail and history into the story that the reader might wonder just how many witches there really are in this Salem of the South. Perhaps we’ll find out in the sequel that Lessey is currently writing and I’m anxious to read as soon as it is ready.
Crystal Coast: the Coven is due out April 30,2014. The prequel The Secret Keepers is due for release on April 14. Both are recommended reads.