I think the reason that Kate Johnson isn’t more widely known as a writer is that her books are widely varied in genre. I have read most of what she has published although I have had to do it electronically as they are not always available in paper versions – I have certainly never seen them in bookshops. Please don’t let that put you off because she writes excellent novels with a sly and clever wit. I particularly recommend Max Seventeen (sci-fi adventures with a touch of romance), Death Comes to Cornwall (light-hearted crime with a touch of romance), Little Haunting by the Sea (fun ghost story with a touch of romance) and The UnTied Kingdom (fantasy/alternative world with a touch of romance).
Hex Appeal is a story about modern day witches (with a touch of romance). It’s a romantic comedy about a collection of witches who live in a small village and what happens when they get a new landlord.
Essie lives with other witches in an old house which they keep hidden by supernatural means. People can be brought to the house but then they tend to forget about it once they leave. Josh is their new landlord, having inherited his house from a distant relative. He tries to collect outstanding rent on Essie’s home but keeps losing track of where the house is and who lives there – he is drawn to Essie whenever he meets her. Josh, however, is scarred by a previous relationship and Essie isn’t sure what to do about her feelings for this man given that her previous boyfriends have had unfortunate experiences with her powers. Together they become embroiled with an ancient evil which they need to fight and which requires them going back in time.
This isn’t a book that takes itself very seriously and some of it is very funny. Underneath the surface, however, the author has something important to say about women and how eccentric or unusual women are regarded in society. Essie and Josh are both engaging main characters with a collection of flaws and a line in witty banter. There are a collection of well depicted minor characters too – I particularly engaged with Josh’s sister and some of the other witches. I understand that this will be the start of a series and have already preordered the second one.
If you like a good romcom or particularly enjoy light-hearted books about the supernatural I recommend this novel and if the content is not quite what you like you may find that this author has another title which is more your thing.