Curse Me Not

Elizabeth Fisher
Curse Me Not
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Champagne Books
Release Date
December 2014
Paranormal Romance

Appalachian unsophisticate Elzetta Swan has gained a rare ability considered very lucrative in her reality. She can see people's auras and clean revenge curses off those auras. Having embraced the gift faster than grass through a goose, she's about to finish her first year as a licensed "bodywasher" in Knoxville, Tennessee, with a countrified inner child that's skipping all the way to the bank.

Suddenly a routine aura cleansing turns ugly. Elzetta suspects a professional invoker has come to town—one who's hooked on the rush of setting particularly nasty curses. If that wasn't bad enough, the invoker may be visiting at the invitation of a mysterious local with a malicious hard-on for revenge.

Well-intentioned but often out of her depth, Elzetta must track down the culprits. In doing so, she ends up facing threats both to her trendy new life and the hallelujah hankering she's forming for a reluctant—and way too sexy—urban white knight who's crossed her path. Will the confrontations create in Elzetta a vengeful rage all her own?

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Jan 31, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
139 people found the following review helpful
CURSE ME NOT by Elizabeth Fisher provides a mature television-esqe law drama and realistic romance with a paranormal twist. It was a good read, and I give it 3 stars.

In the novel, set in Knoxville, Tennessee, "Miz" Elzetta Swan has been preternaturally gifted with the ability to cleanse people of curses; she's called a bodywasher. Most often her clients seek to be cleansed, but the novel opens with her dealing with a remorseful client who has paid an invoker to place a mild curse on someone else. During the cleansing session, Elzetta discovers that a major curse has been invoked instead of the ordered minor curse. Her subsequent investigation leads her to suspect that the invoker is saturated by his work/ addicted to invoking curses, which poses a serious health and safety threat to the community.

Given the general prejudice and skepticism faced by bodywashers, Elzetta seeks the help of Captain Caleb McGrath, who once gave a seminar on the impact of preternatural forces on crime, thus giving Elzetta hope that he might actually take her concerns seriously. McGrath's involvement in the investigation develops into a romantic relationship with Elzetta, but they have a lot of drama to get through before any kind of happily ever after is possible.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel once I got into it, which I must admit was difficult for reasons I'll explain in a bit. What I liked about this novel was that it was mainly focused on the case – the drama of what was happening with the curses and this particular invoker. It was almost as if it were a television episode of Castle – suspense, drama, comedy and witty commentary (even if the wit is in Elzetta's inner monologue).

The plot was decent, though I spotted the secondary villain at nearly the moment of introduction, and then spent the rest of the novel trying to tell Elzetta what she was missing. An effort in futility, clearly, but she gets it together in the end and identifies the villain. The editing was well done, and I wasn't distracted by typos or grammatical issues. Some grammatical deviations are purposeful and add depth to the novel's context, not to mention some occasional levity.

The romance is realistic and totally believable, and I seriously appreciate that the main characters are older than 40, which pleasantly deviates from the overall romance genre. People in their 40's and beyond have romantic relationships, too. The few sexual scenes also make this novel appropriate for mature audiences.

The big issue I had with the novel was pacing. The beginning was slow, and Captain McCutie isn't introduced until the SIXTH chapter! Like I said, the plot was decent, but honestly, for a good portion of those first few chapters, I was wondering where this novel was going. This issue would also have been resolved if there had been some historical background provided in the beginning about bodywashing, etc., especially since invoking a curse against someone is considered a criminal offense. This novel wasn't set in some fantasy world; it was set right here in modern day life. So an explanation as to how bodywashing became a recognized/licensed occupation would have helped maintain my interest in the story from the beginning.

There were also some unanswered questions at the end. After her investigation is over, Elzetta makes this list of things she's going to do, but we don't get the results of those actions. I would have liked to find out the answer to at least one of those questions.

Finally, while I appreciate realism in the romance aspect of a novel, I really do like a happy ending, and this novel ended with sadness. It doesn't appear to be the first in a series, either, so I really would have liked an epilogue set a significant time after the drama has passed that shows our main characters in happier circumstances.

Overall, though, I liked the novel and would recommend it to mature audiences who appreciate realism with their paranormal romances.
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