FicCentral received a free copy of this book from *the author*.
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing on March 5, 2014
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance (Adult)
Cooper Shaw lives his life under a pen name and enjoys the anonymity it provides during his journeys across the globe as a seasoned writer for a travel magazine. When his job lands him in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts to cover the famous Festival of the Dead, he soon realizes that he can’t stay invisible forever as he faces ghosts from a past he’s been trying to forget ever since he left.
The city holds nothing but bad memories for Coop until he meets a quirky young woman with an old soul and curious insights by the name of Finnley Pierce. While she acts as his tour guide through a town he thought he knew, Finn helps him unearth the truth of his childhood and might even begin to open up his heart.
By unraveling the mystery of his father’s murder, Coop may finally accept who he is, where he came from, and perhaps even realize what he wants for his future.
The moment Cooper Shaw graduated, he left his hometown of Salem, and he never looked back. Out in the world he could be whoever he wanted to be, travel the world while writing articles for a magazine, and pretend he wasn’t the boy whose father was murdered, whose crazy witch mother wasn’t a murderer, who wasn’t falsely accused of the crime and still suspect in the eyes of many in the witch-centric town he came from. So when he’s forced back home on assignment, his goal is to get in, get the story, and get out — all under his pen name, of course.
Finnley Pierce is a strange one. She wears too little clothing in winter, mouths off to traveling writers, and wholeheartedly believes in witchcraft. But as much as Coop only believes in the proven and tangible, there’s just something about Finn he can’t tear himself away from. Maybe it’s that she seems to know who he is before he tells her. Maybe it’s that she doesn’t think the sensational worst of his family. Or maybe it’s just that she’s beautiful and interesting and willing to help him figure out the mystery of his mother. And with the strange static phone calls, the sounds of breaking glass in a perfectly intact house, and bizarre glyphs he can’t possibly understand, he’s going to need all the help he can get.
If I didn’t know the author from her previous work, I probably never would have picked up this book. I’m kind of a hard sell when it comes to anything supernatural, since so many stories in the genre border on ridiculous, and I’m even more critical when the plot touches upon a history with which I’m familiar. But passing up Cursed Be the Wicked would have been a huge mistake.
Coop is so easy to relate to. He’s understandably bothered by his past, by the dramatic events that shaped his youth and stole his mother away, and he has no reason to believe in the stories of magic and witchcraft that surround his childhood home. He’s almost derisive in his skepticism, but in some ways he’s open-minded. He may not believe what he hears and instead seek reasonable, logical explanations for the strange happenings around him, but he doesn’t blindly deny that something odd is in the air. And that’s what made him so easy for me to follow. Granted, I would have probably run screaming from the first odd noise, which would probably turn out to be nothing more than a cat, but if I weren’t a giant chicken, I think I would react with the same curiosity versus disbelief if faced with unexplainable & odd happenings.
And Finn? She’s so easy to like. A bit of an oddball, she’s quick to stand up for herself and those she cares about, but she’s not entirely abrasive. She seems to understand Coop in a way that he doesn’t even understand himself, and while the main focus of the story is the solving the mystery of Coop’s seemingly insane mother, all the while there’s a romance weaving through its way through the scenes until it just seems to belong. Without a big build up or fallout, it kind of sneaks its way in, and while just knowing the genre told me it was coming, I couldn’t help but love the way the feelings simply become an integral part of things without resorting to trite drama.
As for the supernatural and witchcraft aspect of things… I’ve studied the court transcripts from the Salem trials, pored over the ergot theories, and with some help from the seminary, picked apart the faulty Bible translations from old languages that eventually supported the whole witch hunt idea (apparently, I was a curious kid). I am by no means an expert in any of it, but it was wonderful to read a story that touched on the true history without leaning on it too heavily or attempting to rewrite it. It could have gone horribly wrong, but instead it simply added a layer of authenticity and new interest to the whole mystery. And that mystery? I’d love to go into it, since it was my favorite part of the book, from the way it built up to the way it all played out, but that would spoil your fun when you step over to Amazon and grab a copy.
Like right now.