cover image The Midnight Witch

The Midnight Witch

Paula Brackston. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-00608-0

Bestseller Brackston follows The Witch’s Daughter and The Winter Witch with another sturdy historical paranormal. In 1913 London, on the eve of WWI, Lady Lilith Montgomery takes the title of Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven after her father’s death. Lilith and her fiancé, fellow witch Louis Harcourt, must defend the secret of the elixir of life from rival sorcerers, but both are distracted when impoverished artist Bram Cardale wins Lilith’s heart. War and the schemes of her enemies leave Lilith isolated, but loosening social conventions allow her to find love with Bram and success in her pursuits. Brackston lightly layers in unusual historical locales, like war-torn Uganda, but otherwise provides the expected charms of Edwardian balls, decadent slumming in opium dens, and repentant work in wartime soup kitchens. Her characters also fit convention (unsure prodigy, flighty socialite, spurned yet noble suitor) but their sincerity and humor make them worth following to the end. (Mar.)