Deceiving the Witch Next Door is about Storie Bell, a witch who moves back to her hometown of Bloomington, Texas. Storie and her friend, Harper, are opening a coffee/book shop in town. Next to the new store is the Malone’s bar, The Speakeasy. Reid Malone is helping his father run The Speakeasy and is searching for the secret ingredient to his father’s moonshine recipe, which Reid’s father plans to sell to make a profit that he wants to leave to Reid. The problem is that the secret ingredient is somewhere in Storie’s new café, so Reid has to find his way in and find the secret ingredient. The problem, however, is that Reid and Storie had an almost relationship before she blew town years ago. As the two become closer Reid begins to feel guilty about lying to Storie and Storie has her own problems with her witchy powers and her mother’s sudden appearance. The question becomes whether either Reid or Storie will be able to overcome these obstacles and have a real relationship.
Overall, I enjoyed the romance of the book, but I found there wasn’t a lot of substance besides the romance. The tension between the characters was well done and believable, it was the tension of the plot that I found to be lacking. The whole illegal moonshine operation just seemed a little old fashioned and I didn’t really see the point of Reid even lying to Storie about what he needed from the shop; there was no reason he couldn’t just ask if she knew what the secret ingredient was.
I also thought that more could have been done to explain the magic that Storie used in the book. Where did she learn these spells if her mother, the only witch she apparently knew, abandoned her as a child? And Storie mentions a couple of times that she can’t be with a mortal man because she’s a witch and she should be looking for a wizard or warlock – but how does she know these people exist, has she meet others like her? And finally, I didn’t fully get the whole alternate dimension where witches live. Ultimately, I thought the issues with magic could have been fleshed out quite a bit more. I was interested in the magic system of the book and I felt that the book would have been more dynamic if a deeper discussion on magic was included.
I would recommend this book to those looking for a light romance that isn’t heavy on plot progression. The book is ultimately about a relationship and not really about Storie’s magical abilities.
*Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book.