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The Enchantment Emporium    by Tanya Huff order for
Enchantment Emporium
by Tanya Huff
Order:  USA  Can
Daw, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I have long enjoyed Tanya Huff's work, from her magical Keeper's Chronicles and Quarters fantasy series to her exciting SF Confederation novels. The Enchantment Emporium opens another engaging urban fantasy series and introduces a delightfully close - and constantly squabbling - extended family of powerful witches, the Gales.

This first episode centers on Allie (Alysha Catherine Gale) as she comes into her powers and meets her destiny. As The Enchantment Emporium opens, she has just lost her job as a research assistant at the Royal Ontario Museum, and is home for the May Day festivities. She helps make pies, in which the aunties bake charms to influence others. In addition to being newly unemployed, Allie also misses her gay best friend Michael, who has moved to Vancouver with his lover Brian. Next to Michael, she loves her female cousin Charlie (a musician and a bit of a wild card) best.

The aunties control the family bloodlines, strongly encouraging appropriate unions, though the Gale boys always choose. They also make sure that none of the young men go to the darkside, and can be quite ruthless. Allie worries about her elder brother David, whose power the aunties are closely monitoring.

Then Allie receives a letter from her Gran, saying that she's dead (the aunties don't believe it) and leaving all her worldly possessions (in particular her enchantment emporium in Calgary, Alberta) to her granddaughter. So Allie heads to Calgary, where she hires a rather tall leprechaun changeling, Joe O'Hallon, to help with the business, and falls hard for a journalist/assassin, blue-eyed Graham. She's joined in Calgary by Charlie and Michael.

Soon they're coping with a dozen Dragon Lords, who flame different parts of the city when they're bored; a powerful sorceror with long-laid plans; a young Dragon Lord who needs Allie's protection; a big bad from the UnderRealm; and the fact that Allie's in the process of crossing into the second circle. While all this goes on, Graham is torn between his feelings for Allie and his loyalty to his boss. And Allie is ever more fiercely protective of all whom she has marked as Mine.

As always with a Tanya Huff tale, The Enchantment Emporium is tremendous fun and left me anxious for more of the Gale family. Luckily I have the second in the series, The Wild Ways, at hand and am about to dive right in to Charlie's adventure.

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