Guest Review: Best in Show by Kelly Jensen

Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.

Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.

Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.

Reviewer: Shee Reader

First, let me just gush. Oh my word, I loved this book so hard!

The premise is quirky, the main characters are a writer struggling to make words since his last relationship ended, and a young shifter cursed by his ‘Auntie’ the witch to stay in his ‘second skin’ by day. Our writer finds himself railroaded by his sister to be more sociable *horror* and at the animal shelter to choose a dog. The sister reasons the dog will be good company, and ensure Julian leaves the house to walk said dog. In the shelter Julian finds himself drawn to a lovely orange tabby cat with unusual eyes. You guessed it, our other leading man Mac, in his second skin.

The cat “Marmalade” (which he hates) goes home with Julian and our story really begins. Returning to his first skin, Mac “Marmalade” helps himself to the contents of the fridge and downs a couple of beers. Julian's reaction on finding the empties the next morning was very funny and relatable if you’ve ever done the whole ‘I can’t believe I did that/ate that/left that mess’ thing. I loved it.

The setting is Lingwood, Pennsylvania, a place of intrigue and history and is charmingly included in the story but doesn’t overwhelm it. Julian is madly researching in the hopes of luring his muse out of hiding and is fascinated by Madeleine Lingwood’s journal.

This is only a short-ish book so the tale moves at a relatively speedy pace, but is enjoyable for that. The entrance of the witchy Aunt is brilliant, and the budding affection the two men have for each other is beautiful and real (fur notwithstanding) and the ending is charming and could easily lead to a further story.

This was a quick, satisfying read I would recommend. The humour is light, the characters sweetly drawn so that even their flaws are charming, and the story engagingly written.

A free copy of the book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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