cover image Wednesday Night Witches

Wednesday Night Witches

Lee Nichols. Red Dress Ink, $13.95 (297pp) ISBN 978-0-373-89554-0

Nichols (True Lies of a Drama Queen) takes a Charmed-inspired ride on a broomstick, smartly mixing magic with chick lit cheer. Manhattan teacher Eve Crenshaw escapes to Broome Isle, Maine, after a nasty break-up to visit her former NYU classmate, Natasha Kent. Natasha, a starving artist, introduces Eve to her childhood pal Kim Gray, an ""Earth Mama"" type and direct descendant of a Salem-era witch. They tag themselves ""Wednesday Night Witches"" after participating in a local bar's trivia contest, but the witchery truly begins when they share a potent wine that grants each woman a wish, transforming their lives but endangering the island when they unwittingly release an ancient demon. The arrival of yummy Jack, Garrison and Johnny distracts them while the demon's power grows, leading to a major showdown. These accidental witches lack the depth of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic spellcasters, but they're still appealing. Nichols fills her cauldron with a very Maine stew and injects the proceedings with a breezy style well suited to escapist summer romances.