Oh my gosh, this book. 😀
Anyone who knows me for any length of time knows I love fantasy, magic, and the supernatural. It’s one of the first things I’ll either tell you or you’ll deduce within 10 mins of meeting me.
When I was in middle/high-school, I would hurry home after school activities or hanging out with my friends to catch episodes of Charmed, a TV show about powerful witches living in Los Angeles. In college, I procrastinated on homework and projects by watching reruns of Ghost Whisperer, a TV show about a woman who can see and interact with ghosts, and when I got my first job and had the opportunity to work from home, I’d do so while watching reruns Supernatural, a TV show about brothers who’re bounty hunters of supernatural creatures.
I loved all those shows and continue to watch reruns of them to this day. Charmed is the one that started it all and since discovering it and watching its episodes so many times that I know a few by heart, I’ve tried to find TV shows and novels that are similar and are about witches.
Witches of East End, the TV show that aired on Lifetime back in 2013, came close, but the plot and characters started out weak and became worse as the story progressed. I thought the novel, written by Melissa de la Cruz, would be better, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Since then, I’ve continued trying to find TV shows and novels similar to Charmed without luck until I saw The Water Witch on my library’s Overdrive app. It’s the sequel to The Demon Lover and it sounded so interesting that I decided to give the series a try.
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.
I’m surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. Paranormal/supernatural romance isn’t a genre I often reach for because I usually become frustrated by it early on and have to give up on the story, but this one held me captivated. I was so hooked that I completed the novel in a week. I just could not stop reading the book. It’s as if the incubus compelled me toward the novel as it beguiled the protagonist to submit to him.
The story has its faults. There are some plot holes because I find it odd that despite writing a book called The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers, Callie doesn’t realize what is happening to her, though I guess it can be excused since Callie begins the novel believing that supernatural creatures and magic does not exist in this world. Also, one of the conflicts, the curse, wrapped up too easily, and there are many sexual encounters in which the female does not give her consent yet the demon lover has sexual intercourse with her anyway (usually happens while she’s asleep) and the protagonist never considers these events to be rape.
But I couldn’t stop reading or enjoying the story despite those faults. What I liked the most about the story is its setting — a charming small town in upstate New York where everyone knows each other and Callie’s Victorian house, which I wish I could see a picture of or tour — and the inclusion of magic and fantastic creatures, similar to what I see in the TV shows mentioned above as well as Grimm, which I recently started watching again.
This story has a variety of fantastical creatures besides the incubus — such as boggarts, brownies, and gnomes — that can all assume human form. I like how that works in the story because assuming a human shape makes it difficult for characters to determine what kind of creatures are among them and makes one of the conflicts in the plot a little difficult to figure out. I actually didn’t figure out what the cause of the mysterious illness and loss of energy in some characters was until right before it was revealed.
Another reason why this story was so compelling is the writing. I love descriptive writing and this story contains that. It made the story so immersive that I felt as if I visited Fairwick in my mind. I love it when a story pulls me into it and makes me so engrossed in reading it that I sometimes don’t notice the passing of time. That’s the experience I had with The Demon Lover.
Other things I liked: it refers to events in modern-day society, such as the scandal regarding James Frey lying in his “memoir,” and this creature, which I wouldn’t want to find in my books:
“A lacuna,” he said, his voice trembling. “A biblioparasite that nests in books and grows when it smells blood. Nasty things.”
(Btw, the word “lacuna” is defined as “an unfilled space or interval; a gap.”)
After completing the novel, I learned that the author’s name, Juliet Dark, is actually a pseudonym for mystery writer Carol Goodman. With the exception of The Demon Lover, I’ve never before read a book by Goodman or heard of her, but now I think I’m a fan. I definitely plan to continue with the next book in the Fairwick Chronicles — The Water Witch.
The story has some faults, but I enjoyed it so much and was so hooked that I can’t wait to read the next book.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
If you also want to read books similar to Charmed, then I recommend this to you.
Quotes from the book:
“Once a persecuted group finds its own place in a culture, their members draw a line around themselves to keep their own places secure.”