Book Review: The Professor Woos the Witch by Kristen Painter

Posted May 28, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Professor Woos the Witch by Kristen Painter

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Professor Woos the Witch by Kristen Painter
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Published by Sugar Skull Books on October 8, 2015
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Reaper Rescues the Genie, The Detective Wins The Witch

Fourth in the Nocturne Falls magical realism fantasy series and revolving around a small town in Georgia that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year, the better for everyone to blend in. The couple focus is on Pandora Williams and Professor Col Van Zant…and his daughter.

My Take

In previous stories in the Nocturne Falls series, we’ve mingled with more of the townspeople, whereas in The Professor Woos the Witch, the focus is on the witches. It makes sense since this is a story about witches . . . and the people who don’t believe. You could say it’s a tale about characters with some action.

Poor Cole. He’s all about logic, practicality, absolute truths — essentials in math and construction. Witchcraft? No, just no. That’s a no to those visions of his as well.

It doesn’t take long before Pandora climbs down Cole’s throat, lol. Even as she makes a deal with him: She gets the listing for the house, and she’ll help him with his kid. A good thing since Pandora is a witch and typical of the townsfolk. What makes it more fun is the use of third person dual protagonist point-of-view from Pandora’s and Cole’s perspectives.

Turns out Pandora’s character arc is revealed in The Professor Woos the Witch. Yeah, I know, Painter has been teasing us with dribs and drabs since the start, but this is where she expands on it and tidies it up. It’s something of a sad commentary about people. Fortunately, the series is more typical of most families and their interactions, just cozier and friendlier.

I do like Pandora’s comment that Dad should let Kaley be a kid! Poor Dad, it’s Kaley needing a mentor that finds him at the Williamses’ Saturday night family dinner where he discovers the joys of a large family.

I do have to reveal that I absolute adore renovating houses, so I’m probably, ahem, prejudiced toward loving this story. Okay, my prejudice extends to warm and cozy towns where the neighbors are friendly and supportive. I’d like to put a vote in for the Ellinghams too. They’re interested in Nocturne Falls being a refuge where people are happy and employed. Don’tcha wish we could have a government like that?

That Aunt Gerty, lol! She’s a free-wheelin’ spirit who would love to be reunited with Ulysses. Her total opposite is that Lila. Oy, what a witch . . . and I mean that in the pejorative sense! My disgust for her is reinforced by Jack’s story.

There are wee bits of drama and tension in here with one major niggle — Cole accepts magic a little too easily — but it’s most a cozy and humorous story that I enjoyed.

The Story

Cole Van Zant knows there is no such thing as witches, and his daughter’s insistence that she’s a witch is driving them both ’round the bend. When he finds out that his new neighbor thinks she’s a witch…oy!

The arguing that ensues results in a bargain between Cole and Pandora. One which could work out well between the real estate agent, the young “witch”, and the heir.

Just know that truth is good, but it sure can hurt.

The Characters

Pandora Williams is the House Witch of Nocturne Falls because she sells almost 100% of the property in town. Too bad her magic is so wonky. Pumpkin is her oversized cat. Corette Williams is Pandora’s mother who runs the bridal shop, Ever After, in town and is dating Stanhill. Pandora’s sisters include Charisma, a life coach, and Marigold, the youngest, who owns the flower shop, Enchanted Garden, and has an eight-year-old daughter, Saffron, a.k.a. Saffie.

Professor Cole Van Zant has just inherited a Victorian house, Pilcher Manor, in Nocturne Falls on Shadows Drive from his maternal great-uncle Ulysses Pilcher. He normally teaches higher math at East State during the school year and works construction in the summer. Thirteen-year-old Kaley, a.k.a. Starla or Kaley-did, is his adopted daughter who believes she’s a witch — and he has full custody. Kaley lies a lot too. She’ll be attending Nocturne Falls High. Great-aunt Gertrude “Gerty” Pilcher, Ulysses’ wife and a legendary witch, died ten years before him. Jack Van Zant is Cole’s secretive father who works as a warehouse foreman at Greenway in Wilmington, North Carolina. Cole’s mother, Maxine, died.

The lying, cheating Lila Aquinos is Cole’s flighty ex-wife and Kaley’s real mother, just not legally.

Nocturne Falls is…
…a Disney-like town that attracts tourists by the busload. Most of the town is owned by the Ellinghams, a local vampire family. Bartholomew Stanhill is Hugh’s rook, think Batman’s Alfred. The grumpy Sebastian Ellingham is the oldest son who handles the family finances. Hugh Ellingham is the second son, and he married Delaney who runs a sweets shop, Delaney’s Delectables (The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, 1).

Hank Merrow is the werewolf sheriff in town, and he’s married to Ivy (The Werewolf Meets His Match, 2). Charlie is their son . . . and Saffie is in love with him. Hank’s nosy aunt, Birdie Caruthers, is the police receptionist. Hank’s deputies include Alex Cruz, a panther shifter.

Bridget Merrow, Hank’s sister and a werewolf, owns Howler’s, a popular local dive bar. Willa Iscove is a fae jeweler who owns Illusions. She married Nick Hardwin, a gargoyle, in The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, 3. Ivan “Van” Tsvetkov, a.k.a. The Hammer, is a dragonshifter and MMA fighter. Mummy’s is a great diner for breakfasts.

Alice Bishop is the head of the local coven; she’s also Elenora‘s companion. Dominique is a third-degree witch and a councilwoman for Nocturne Falls. More members of the coven include Nella Davis and Martha Trevors.

Harmswood Academy is the private school in Nocturne Falls for supernaturals. Roxy St James is a paranormal romance author and a friend of Delaney’s who lives in New York. Gary Melworth owns Melworth’s Kitchens and More, which is a high-end cabinet shop. The cauldron.com is an online forum for (wannabe) witches. Ren was a boyfriend in high school who didn’t believe. Zarina had been an evil witch censured by the American Council of Witches (ACW). Hildie Martin is a potential house seller. Professor Agnes Houston teaches drama at East State University in North Carolina.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a predominance of green with horizontal teardrops of greens in a starry green sky, a clutch of green trees behind Pilcher Manor (in green) with windows lit up with yellow light. More green is the grass beneath their feet. Yep, their. Cole is in blue jeans, a green T-shirt, and a lighter navy jacket, glasses firmly in place. One hand clutches a bouquet of pink and red roses while the other hand is gripping the folding ladder. It’s a red-haired Pandora wearing a pointed witch’s hat, black boots, and a short sexy dress who’s up on that pale brown ladder. She’s celebrating by shooting off those stars from her own hands. That wrought iron fence gives another nod to the witchy with its cobwebbed pickets. The orange jack-o-lantern with its lit-up face is perched atop a spiked cap and is framed by two ravens. Beneath it is a wooden sign with the series information in a pale yellow. The title is at the top (leaning right) in a simplified gothic font in white with a thick black outline. The author’s name is in a serif font with the same coloring. Below that is an info blurb in white with a thick black background.

The title isn’t quite accurate, for even as The Professor Woos the Witch, she’s wooing him right back.

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