Girl's Guide To Witchcraft (Red Dress Ink)
by Mindy Klasky
Review by Colleen Cahill
Red Dress Ink Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0373896077
Date: 01 October, 2006 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Jane Madison is a single girl living in Washington, D.C. Her job as a reference librarian at the Peabridge Free Library includes running a coffee bar on the side. If this is not bad enough, the library, which focuses on colonial America, has decided the way to increase the number of visitors is to have the staff dress in period clothing. But the worst bit of news is the cash-strapped institution is cutting Jane's salary! Her boss does give Jane some good news; the library is offering to let her stay in the cottage behind the library rent free, all utilities included. It is a deal she cannot refuse, so Jane enlists the aid of Melissa, her best friend who runs a bakery (with goodies that sound luscious), to clean up the cottage and make it a home. Only after Melissa leaves does Jane discover a key to the basement which is filled with a library of magic books and one large statue of a black cat. While exploring, Jane reads an incantation and suddenly finds that instead of the cat statue there is a young man who definitely thinks she needs a make-over. Men are popping up all over, for within minutes of accidently releasing Neko from his state as a feline decoration, Jane is visited by her warder, David Montrose, who was alerted by her unlicenced witchcraft. Through a series of accidents, Jane has worked a spell and is official now a witch.
The chaos and mayhem do not stop there. Jane always thought her mother was dead, but her grandmother informs her that Mom is back and wants to meet her. For months Jane has been dreamy-eyed over a patron she considers a potential boyfriend: after she and Neko work a love spell, he begins to take notice. And so did several other men, including the library's janitor and an elderly friend of her grandmother. Somehow Jane just can't stop working magic, which brings down the wrath of David. While he tries to help Jane understand her new position, he isn't a witch, so Jane must rely on her basement library and the dubious advice of her "gay feline familiar".
Girl's Guide to Witchcraft is a fun romp with plenty of character and charm. Whether Jane is dealing with work insanity, bemoaning her love life-- or lack thereof, dealing with the strange promises her grandmother demands of her (like never lick a toad), or even facing the challenges of a yoga class, she manages to eventually see the bright side of things. Those who live in or around DC will recognize many of the locations mentioned in the book, such as Five Guys Burgers, the best hamburgers in the area. There is definitely a foodie side to this book and I just wish that Melissa's bake shop really existed.
This book is a good choice for those who like urban fantasy, romance, or just a good book and I am looking forward to more of Jane's adventures in the future.