Source: supplied by publisher via Edelweiss, supplied by publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genres: cozy fantasy, paranormal, paranormal romance
Series: Fix-It Witches #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on July 11, 2023
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org
Iris Collins is the messy one in her family. The "chaos bunny." Her sisters are all wildly successful, while she can't balance her budget for a single month. It's no wonder she's in debt to her roommates. When she unexpectedly inherits a house from her great aunt, her plan to turn it into a B&B fails—as most of her plans do. She winds up renting rooms like a Victorian spinster, collecting other lost souls...and not all of them are "human."
Eli Reese grew up as the nerdy outcast in school, but he got rich designing apps. Now he's successful by any standards. But he's never had the same luck in finding a real community or people who understand him. Over the years, he's never forgotten his first crush, so when he spots her at a café, he takes it as a sign. Except then he gets sucked into the Iris-verse and somehow ends up renting one of her B&B rooms. As the days pass, Eli grows enchanted by the misfit boarders staying in the house...and even more so by Iris. Could Eli have finally found a person and a place to call "home"?
Iris Collins is at the end of her rope – and the knot she’s tied in that rope seems to be slipping through her fingers. And just at the point where all of her choices seem to range from bad to worse the universe throws her a lifeline. Ironic that, as the lifeline is the direct result of a death in her family. Her Great-Aunt Gertie has died and left her a charming but slightly dilapidated house in witch-friendly St. Claire, Illinois. All Iris has to do is get herself there, sign some papers, and she’ll have a rent-free place to live and a fresh start in a life that could seriously use one.
That it will get her away from her family’s drama is icing on a very purple cake. Because her mother and sisters are literally sucking the life out of her whenever she’s near them – and not just because they are ALL psychic vampires. Literally. Really, truly. Delphine, Lily and Rose would be toxic if they were garden-variety humans – but they aren’t. And they never let Iris forget that she’s the family ‘dud’ because she is. Or so it seems.
But Iris can’t support herself and the purple house without solving her cash flow problems, which is where the whole story starts to shine.
Her solution is to take in boarders, people like herself who need a place to live. But her first new roommate doesn’t really fit that description – not that Eli Reese is going to let Iris know that. Once upon a time, back when both Iris and Eli were briefly attending Middle School in St. Claire, Iris saved Eli from a gang of bullies. She doesn’t remember him or the incident, but he’s never forgotten her.
His motives for a bit of deception at their (re)meeting aren’t exactly pure. He IS hoping to pay her back for that timely rescue way back when. But he also just wants to get close to her. That he wants to get as close as possible in ways that would never have occurred to him back in Middle School is a secret he’s even keeping from himself. At least at first.
Of course, by the time he figures it out, his lies start to unravel and so does the cozy little dream that every person who has gravitated to The Only Purple House in Town has dreamed.
Because there’s a wicked witch (even if she isn’t REALLY a witch) trying to run them out of town with an attack of flying monkeys (in the person of government bureaucracy and officialdom) who doesn’t want paranormal creatures in her perfectly normal little town.
We’ll see who wins, and if the course of true love can possibly run true after all, in The Only Purple House in Town.
Escape Rating A-: The Only Purple House in Town was the best book in the entire Fix-It Witches series. Even better, it’s more of a set in the same universe story than it is a direct follow-up to the earlier books, meaning that it is more than possible to skip to the good stuff – meaning this book – without reading the rest unless you really, really want to.
And I’m saying this even though the resolution of the drama is well and truly straight out of deus ex machina territory and none of the characters in this story who put the “B” in “witch” get nearly the comeuppance they deserve – as is true for the previous books in the series.
That’s because the residents of the Violet Gables are just so damn charming together, their found family is so full of both love and humor, and Iris and Eli were delightful from their very first meet-cute. (Their first actual meeting wasn’t nearly so cute and that’s part of the story’s charm.)
What makes this story work so damn well is the way that this found family finds itself and pulls itself together. They are a mixed bag in so many ways, from Iris, the only seemingly mundane person in a family of psychic vampires to Eli the hawk-shifter and Mina the witch. But the mundanes in the family are just as fascinating, and just as much a necessary part of that family, as the supernatural folks. Everyone has had a different journey to bring them to this marvelous place and it is delightful to see them all blend into a whole that is not always harmonious but is always filled with love and care.
And I did love that the found family aspect of the story was a bigger and more important part of everything than the romance. Not that the romance wasn’t sweet, but it was icing on the tasty cake rather than the whole cake in a way that was just right.
The story has a lot of the same cozy fantasy vibes – just with a paranormal twist – as Travis Baldree’s marvelous Legends & Lattes. So if you’ve heard about how wonderful THAT story is but the fantasy setting isn’t quite your jam, The Only Purple House in Town has a lot of that same cozy feel while populated by somewhat more familiar species.
My journey to St. Claire to explore this marvelous little town where the paranormal is normal, has bumped through more than a few potholes along the road, but my stay in The Only Purple House in Town was absolutely delightful from the first page to the last. If there are more stories like this one in town, I’d love to go back!