Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett (Roaring Twenties #1)

Bitter Spirits by Jenn BennettAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance/Historical Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

First in a new romance series: It’s the roaring twenties, and San Francisco is a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic. The fog-covered Bay Area can be an intoxicating scene, particularly when you specialize in spirits…

Aida Palmer performs a spirit medium show onstage at Chinatown’s illustrious Gris-Gris speakeasy. However, her ability to summon (and expel) the dead is more than just an act.

Winter Magnusson is a notorious bootlegger who’s more comfortable with guns than ghosts—unfortunately for him, he’s the recent target of a malevolent hex that renders him a magnet for hauntings. After Aida’s supernatural assistance is enlisted to banish the ghosts, her spirit-chilled aura heats up as the charming bootlegger casts a different sort of spell on her…

On the hunt for the curseworker responsible for the hex, Aida and Winter become drunk on passion. And the closer they become, the more they realize they have ghosts of their own to exorcise…

I love the setting of this book, San Francisco in 1927, a time of great change in both this city and the world. The author’s writing transports us into this world and adds elements of ghosts, black magic and witchcraft. Bitter Spirits is the first in the Roaring Twenties series and I am thoroughly enamored and excited for more.

Aida Palmer is a medium who travels around practicing her art, she has gained a strong reputation and many employers seek her out to hire her. Currently she is working at Gris-Gris, one of the largest black-and-tan speakeasies in the city. Owner Velma is a witch who specializes in hoodoo and helps those who get into trouble with black magic. One night, Winter Magnusson, a successful bootlegger needs help with a ghost that won’t go away and when Velma can’t help she enlists Aida to get rid of the ghost, a specialty of hers. Unfortunately the ghost is the least of his problem as he has been cursed, one that will kill him if they do not find a cure.

Aida and Winter are immediately attracted to each other and after he gets well, they find many reasons to see each other. And as they work together to find out who cursed Winter, they find themselves in more danger than they ever imagined. Not only do they have to contend with ghosts, but the world of the bootlegger is just as hazardous and being harassed by the Feds is scaring several of Winter’s associates and making things even more dangerous, they must find out who is responsible before they end up dead.

What a great book, the romance between Winter and Aida is so enjoyable, they are cute together as they find reasons in the beginning to see each other. He worries because of the scar on his face, but it is something she just does not see. Aida is a wonderful character, full of positive life and although she had a troubled upbringing after her parents died, she makes the most of it. She does tend to live in the present and does not make many future plans, something she believes her brother lived by, and it takes Winter some time to make her realize that future plans are something we all need in our lives. I really enjoyed his sister, Astrid, she was fun and exciting to be around and I liked how she was happy that Aida is bringing a smile to Winter’s face again. And Bo, Winter’s friend who works for him is engaging and so enjoyable. I am excited to continue with the series to see how these characters grow. We have not met Winter’s brother but he seems to be featured in the next book as he makes his way back from an archeological dig on the African continent.

The pace of the story is slow and steady, not much action as most of the story is about Winter and Aida as they build a relationship and investigate the strange happenings around the city that are affecting them. As the danger ramps up, so does the pace as we race toward the exciting conclusion. I love how the author brings San Francisco to life in the twenties, the underground world of liquor, the importance of Chinatown and how the city is re-inventing itself while rebuilding even two decades after the earthquake and fire that destroyed it. All in all a great story that blends paranormal, history and romance together in a wonderful book.

I give Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett 4.25 stars!

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