Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Crystal Magic #5
Publication Date: 3/19/19
# of Pages: 351
I never tire of Patricia Rice’s writing. I am a historical romance fan and rarely stray from that genre, but I couldn’t resist following the Malcolm and Ives families – from the Magic series to the Unexpected Magic series and now on to the contemporary Crystal Magic series. I’m so very glad that I followed! The series is interesting and filled with lovely, quirky characters that you’ll quickly come to like. I think it might be fun to live in a town like Hillvale – with its welcome sign saying – “Hillvale- population 325 lives and countless ghosts.
The “Lucy’s” of Hillvale welcome new arrival Fiona Malcolm McDonald as one of their own – because she is. As a child who was moved from home to home as a part of the foster care system, Fiona had always longed for a “forever” home. Maybe she’s found it in this small town where she isn’t even the weirdest member of the population. She can learn to open up and be herself there – or can she. After so many years of having foster parents reject her when she says something weird to them – even if it is to their benefit – Fiona has learned to be very guarded in her trust and in what she says. She’s become a master at making herself as invisible as possible. Now, she prays that Hillvale will be safe – and accepting.
On Fiona’s very first morning in Hillvale, she witnesses a horrific hit-and-run – right on the main street in the bright sunlight – and it was no accident. Groan! Fiona had fled from Waterville because she had witnessed a beating and possible murder – she’d even rescued a sweet little pooch named Sukey. Now, this! As she approaches the victim, she realizes it is the very person she came to Hillvale to see.
The first person Fiona meets in Hillvale is Montgomery (Monty) Kennedy, the town Mayor. He’s handsome as sin and evidently very rich given his Rolex watch and designer suit. Monty is also a witness to the hit-and-run and immediately summons the town’s police chief, Chen Ling Walker. (he was the hero in Sapphire Nights, the first book in the series).
Fiona finds employment at the local café where she is quickly accepted by all the residents of the town. Fiona has a ‘skill’ for providing a person with just exactly what they need to eat. Her ability is a hypersensitive sense of smell and she immediately knows what a person’s body needs. That sense also identifies other things – illness, evil, love. She focuses mostly on food because that is the skill she knows – food and cooking.
As the crime she witnessed in Waterville becomes linked with the hit-and-run in Hillvale, Monty becomes more and more protective toward Fiona – and more attracted to her. They’ll have to work together to solve the crime so that Fiona is safe. The ‘Lucy’s’ also get involved and Monty isn’t sure whether he likes that or not, but he knows he can’t fight it, so he might as well accept it.
I highly recommend this book – and you can read it as a standalone – but I highly recommend reading the series in order. The writing is excellent, the plot is tight and well executed and you will come to love all of the quirky, unique and very, very special characters who reside in Hillvale.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.