I look forward to summer as a time to take it easy, but it never seems to work out that way. My job often intensifies during June, and the swimming program at my kids’ camp translates to five towels and five bathing suits to add to the wash each day. That’s a lot of laundry, even when you’re trying to be as “green” as possible about it.
So, apart from bedtime stories with my children, my reading time is limited. In the moments I do have for books without illustrations, I crave old favorites or light reads, and, for me, Debora Geary’s Modern Witch series happens to be both.
I read the first four books in the series last year, and then picked it back up again last week to read books five through seven: A Different Witch, A Celtic Witch, and A Lost Witch. The first three books in the series–A Modern Witch, A Hidden Witch, and A Reckless Witch–are my favorite ones, but I have enjoyed seeing what my fictional friends are up to in the remainder of the series. This light series is comfort reading at its best, particularly when accompanied by a cup of Lady Londonderry tea.
The books feature a close knit community of witches based in California and in Nova Scotia. These witches look and act just like the rest of us, except magical powers pulse through their veins (bestowing upon them the ability to consume an endless supply of cookies without gaining a pound). Some have healing earth powers, others have the ability to read minds and amplify thoughts or powers that relate to fire, water, or air (or all of the above). There are no villains to fuel the conflicts in these books; rather, the plots focus on personal growth and helping others in need, sometimes averting larger crises in the process.
Each book in the series builds upon the last, with the Irish-American Sullivan family at the heart of the community. Over seven books, and a spin-off series, I’ve gotten to know this family and their friends, and I identify with many aspects of their lives, including their caffeine addictions and their parenting challenges. As Nell Walker, nee Sullivan, remarks, “Caffeine is the patron saint of parents.” Indeed. I also identify with their Irish heritage, which, in this series, all witches share at least “a little bit.”
Among the witches, there isn’t much ethnic diversity, but I appreciate Geary’s seamless inclusion of other forms of diversity, such as the loving same-sex couples who belong as much as everyone else and whose relationships aren’t spectacles/plot devices. This is a caring group of witches that embraces individuals of many backgrounds, whether a lonely child aging out of the foster care system or a grown woman with a condition on the Autism spectrum, individuals who benefit from this community’s magical talents and large hearts.
Magic aside, these witches rely most on love, caffeine, and snickerdoodles to resolve conflicts, making them an ideal fictional community to help me relax and recharge after a couple of very stressful weeks. I feel much better after finishing these entertaining books, a cup of tea, and, if I happen to have any in the house, a couple of cookies.
What are your comfort books?