The Mid Witch by D J Bowman-Smith. Release date – 28th August 2023.
Well, what can I say? This book is not a genre I would usually consider buying. Especially since I am a thriller writer and like to read as much as I can in my own genre. I would like to point out that I would not go to the effort of writing a full blog post about this book, had I not loved it. With a capital ‘L’.
So, why did I read this book? Because the author, D J Bowman-Smith, is an author friend of mine who I met at the writer’s event I went to in London recently. The book sounded intriguing and DJ explained how it centres around a menopausal middle-aged woman. Well! I thought, we’ve got something in common! That’s not to say that this book wouldn’t appeal to younger women.
I fell in love with the main character, Lilly, almost instantly. She’s trying to look her best for her son’s graduation ceremony, going through all the rigmarole that middle-aged women do to look glam. But everything that can go wrong does. She has a major hair disaster and then arrives late, with fluorescent green hair, after a nightmare journey. Tripping over herself to find her seat in the middle of a hot flush, she’s greeted with the disapproval of her daughter, Belinda. So much for trying to impress her ex-husband, who is already seated…with his stunning new woman! Charlie, or ‘Call me Charlie’ just happens to be a hairdresser as well!
And this is all in the first chapter!
The story only gets funnier and funnier, and I am someone who very rarely laughs out loud when reading a book. It was great therapy!
I was nervous about trying a ‘paranormal’ book, as I can’t say that ‘witchy’ stories are really my thing. Neither are fantasy novels. But, the development of Lilly’s witchiness is introduced gently and with such humour that I really enjoyed it.
Lilly adopts a stray greyhound called ‘Ink’, and anybody who loves dogs will be won over with this relationship as it develops. There are other creatures too, such as ‘Maud’ the crow, and a brief encounter with a fox and a cat. With these new animals in her life, trying to save her home, and learning to manage the strange and magical powers bestowed to her, ‘North Star’ cottage is anything but dull.
So, Lilly is down on her luck, both financially and with love interests. But with a little magic and the help of a new job as a ‘life model’ in an art class, things start to turn around. The last thing I expected was a saucy sex scene in the art room cupboard. It steamed my glasses up! A sex scene that will have any menopausal woman breaking out in a hot flush!
So, why do I think this book is great? Firstly, it’s an easy and light story to read. Secondly, it has a bit of everything!
The author’s biggest strength is characterisation, and I guarantee you will befriend Lilly before the book is done. She is cute, witty, clumsy, and self-deprecating, almost a little like the infamous ‘Miranda’. Then there are other characters like Phil – the art teacher, Theo, Jason and many more. All are portrayed with expertise and playing their role neatly in the storyline. Some you will love, some will make you mad!
The author writes fluently with no long rambling or overly descriptive sections, which I like. Her humour and bluntness are hilarious. Warning: do not read if you disapprove of swear words! I was particularly entertained with matters that many of us may have experienced or thought about, but wouldn’t dare say out loud. ‘Piddle sneeze’ comes to mind. Or the Tena lady stuck in Lilly’s knickers when she’s about to have sex. (I’m still laughing).
The witchy storyline only starts to take off in the last quarter of the book, by ‘witch’ time I was fully immersed and it didn’t bother me if it was a little fantastical. The down-to-earth portrayal of Lilly compliments the paranormal witch element, and the backstory of how and why she develops these powers is as much of a surprise to Lilly as they are to the reader.
My only criticism of the book is this.… we don’t hear whether Ink was okay after Lilly threw the raisins to feed Maud the Crow. Maud didn’t eat them, but did Lilly pick them up? Is Lilly not aware of the dangers of raisins and dogs?
But seriously, I could not fault this book. It is tightly written with beautiful characters, uplifting and empowering to women. The storyline keeps you intrigued and rooting for Lilly right until the end.
I am certainly looking forward to reading the next in the series.