Author: Carla Caruso
Copy courtesy of the author
Carla Caruso is an Adelaide born journalist who has had 12 books published. This is the first of her books I have had the opportunity to read. I love witchy books based in non witchy environments so was really looking forward to reading this tale.
The tale is loosely based on the fictional Italian character La Befana, an old woman, sometimes thought to be a witch, who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (Epiphany is January 6) either candy or coal dependent on how the child has behaved. La Befana is sometimes referred to as The Christmas Witch and I assume this was the motivation for the book’s title.
In Caruso’s tale Mina (Lumina) Rosso is a descendant of the original Christmas Witch, destined to be unlucky in love (although as seen by her mother Sophia, and Nonno, being unlucky in love doesn’t preclude making babies for the next generation of Christmas Witch!).
Mina works in the local antique shop with Sutton (who practices Wicca and has no idea that Mina is a real witch). Mina’s skills include picking up the furniture’s aura (does the piece of furniture think going home with that purchaser is a good move or not?) and communicating with plants (think “help me I’m thirsty”!). The antique shop’s owner has had a fall and has left town to recover, in his place his son Jadon (a stunningly good-looking furniture designer from Milan) has come to keep the shop running, and perhaps improve its viability.
Arrival of Jadon seems to precipitate all sorts of issues, minor spells supplied by Mina under her alias have gone awry with unexpected consequences, Jadon seems intent on making changes in the shop and isn’t guaranteeing on-going employment, there’s something weird going on with Sutton and everywhere Mina goes Jadon seems to turn up.
To add to the chaos, Mina’s younger sister Lotta has somehow missed out on the witch gene, is engaged to be married to a nice Italian boy and is panicking about the upcoming meeting of the families and whether her mother and Nonna will behave and act like normal people not witches.
If that isn’t enough, Mina has got a severe case of the hots for Jadon and it seems to be reciprocated, not good when all relationships entered into by the Christmas Witch are doomed to failure, as Caruso repeatedly tells the reader,
I’d always thought witches were either white or black, but Caruso’s character Mina is a red witch, although she shares the characteristics of a white witch in that she just wants to help people and do nice things. It seems however that Mina and her family aren’t the only witches in town, there is also the black witches, headed by Gardenia and Amantha, who delight in causing havoc. Mina is pretty sure they are up to something, and it seems to involve Arlo, her decidedly non-magical old flame.
Will Mina discover what the black witches are up to before anyone else is injured or dies? And is her relationship with Jadon doomed to failure?
The Christmas Witch is a light-hearted tale of good versus evil with unsuspecting non-magical people caught up in the tussle. If you are looking for a light read with a bit of romance, intrigue and humour based on the Cozy Mystery genre then you will probably enjoy Caruso’s latest tale.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Christmas Witch. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.