cover image The Fifth Sense

The Fifth Sense

Michelle M. Pillow. The Raven Books, $19.99 (250p) ISBN 978-1-62501-293-7

Bestseller Pillow’s fluffy fifth Order of Magic paranormal romance (after The Fourth Power) eschews the heavier elements of its dark premise to draw readers into a supportive magical world hidden beneath the mundane. Sue Jewel is grateful to be alive; just after her 40th birthday, her abusive husband, Hank, decided that she’d outlived her usefulness and stuffed her in the trunk of his car. Luckily, the car accident that killed Hank saved Sue’s life. After being released from the hospital, she’s plagued by sensory phantasmic reminders of Hank—from tasting his bourbon and cigarettes, to catching glimpses of his face—until a mysterious silver ring she discovers among her belongings leads her to small-town Freewild, N.C. There, she finds a community theater with a long history of the supernatural and a small group of magical women already inducted into the sisterhood of the silver ring. As she finds a home within their ranks, she also develops a connection with coffee shop owner Jameson Lloyd, who adds some brightness to her world. It’s a story of recovery that doesn’t dig too deep into trauma or grief, instead focusing on the healing power of friendship. The romance is a bit perfunctory, but the cast of women and their bond resonates. This is a delight. (Self-published)