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Laced With Magic    by Barbara Bretton order for
Laced With Magic
by Barbara Bretton
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Chloe Hobbs was born and raised in the little Vermont town of Sugar Maple. Tourists come in droves to bask in its Norman Rockwell ambience, stay overnight at one of the town's quaint array of inns, or spend the day shopping. The biggest draw is of course Chloe's knitting shop, where there's never a shortage of wool and where knitters of all levels can come to spend the day or learn new knitting tricks and designs.

Little do the humans realise however, that Sugar Maple and its inhabitants are far from normal - especially Chloe. She's been waiting her entire life to come into her magic and find the man of her dreams. She might have fallen in love with Luke MacKenzie and defeated the evil Fae Queen Isodora, but all of it has come at a steep price. She's lost her childhood friend Gunnar and now some of the townsfolk whom she'd always believed were her friends are turning against her and the man she loves, fearing that having Luke living and working in town will only bring more danger and reprisals from Isodora.

Nor has Luke been completely honest with Chloe. When his ex wife Karen breezes into town claiming that their dead daughter Stephanie is calling from beyond the grave, Chloe is stunned. But before she and Luke can sit down and have a heart to heart about the big dark secret he'd neglected to mention, Isodora returns to exact her revenge for being banished. Even worse, she's holding Stephanie's spirit hostage to get what she wants. Chloe has a tough choice to make: protect Luke, Karen and Stephanie or protect Sugar Maple and its supernatural inhabitants from Isodora's wrath.

Despite a major revelation that should have been addressed in Book 1 and numerous choppy and confusing transitions as Chloe, Luke and Karen express their first person points of view, Bretton delivers another light, frothy tale in Laced With Magic. There are plenty of amusing touches of supernatural humour (via the townsfolk) and a nice progression of Chloe and Luke's romance as he's forced to decide if he can live with Chloe's newfound magical obligations - or not. There's also an unexpected plot twist on the last page that sets things up for what can only be Chloe and Fae Queen Isodora's final showdown.

Note: knitting fanatics will also get a kick out of all the craft references at the end of the book where Bretton's friends and fellow authors either discuss their obsession or share a favourite pattern.

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