Review of Betwixt by Darynda Jones


Darynda Jones

February 16, 2020

Feather & Leaf, LLC

Blurb: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction with a bit of class, and a lot of sass, for anyone who feels like age is just a number!

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She’s only there to find out why a woman she’s never met would leave her a house. A veritable castle that has seen better days. She couldn’t possibly accept it, but the lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she’s scared of it. The house. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who’s a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she’s a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they’re right.

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After having read and enjoyed A Bad Day for Sunshine (read the review here), I found another Darynda Jones series on Kindle Unlimited and immediately thought, “yay, more comfort food.” Instead, I pinpointed the reason why I stopped reading her Charley Davidson series.

The plot and story idea of Betwixt are excellent. A woman inherits a seemingly haunted house and discovers a heritage she never knew existed. Even the little mysteries that pop up are fun but, unfortunately they’re slim when they should be the focus and they appear far too late in the novel.

The man in a kilt? I know Scottish dudes are in, but it feels so much like a tangent and a need to fulfill fantasies that it never really fits. Yep, sexy, but? Okay. For many readers there is no but.

My major complaint comes from two things. Defiance may be 40-something but seems like a teen-something. She’s basically immature and irresponsible. I’ve seen the term “special snowflake” tossed around and now understand how this can be used. Defiance is a bit of a joke and really shouldn’t be. By our mid-forties we should be much better at life than Defiance is. Being a joke is no joke. She seems like a 40 year old who might be living in her parents’ basement.

Speaking of jokes, the author will do anything to make a joke, even if it’s to make a smart character say something stupid in order to get the joke across. To have the very savvy grandmother in this story say something ridiculous, illogical, in order to get a joke isn’t good writing. It’s an attempt, a sad attempt, at stand-up comedy.

So, yeah. The story has a few laughs, good sideline mysteries that should be the focus but aren’t.

There are errors in the book, but it’s not an ARC so from a professional writer, it’s kind of inexcusable.

Lots of readers love it. So we’re going with: Your Mileage May Vary.

Read from KU.

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