The fourth installment of the Southern Charms Cozy series definitely wasn’t a disappointment to me. The twists and turns within this book, not just from a mystery side but also from the romance side and magic side were definitely interesting and kept me wanting to continue even when it was late and I really needed to get to bed so I could function as a human being for work the next day. Spoiler: I stayed up anyway to continue it.
Spoilers ahead because I like to discuss what happened in the book!
After everything that happened in the last book with Tucker’s family, he’s taken his father’s old seat on the Honeysuckle Hollow council and as a way to bring the town together in an effort to show Charleston’s council they’re strong and don’t need to be absorbed into the bigger city, he’s organized a barbeque cookoff and broom racing contest. Which as a whole, definitely sounds super fun to me. The citizens of Honeysuckle form teams to compete against one and other – in a friendly competition of course – and even have outsiders helping. Not only that, it draws the attention of a few outside groups who come in to complete along side the citizens.
As well from the last book, Charli and Mason’s relationship has been steadily growing closer. He’s been teaching her how to ride a brook, they’ve been dating ish, and they’ve even shared their magic so that she could get a better handle on how he used his magic to navigate the broom for flying. All things are looking up for the couple as a whole until the night Charli is taking down the names of the teams competing in the barbeque contest – because one of those teams is made up of Dash and his brother. Suddenly, with no word that he was even coming back into town to her, with no warning or heads up he’s just sitting at one of the campfires when she moves to take down the team’s name and roster.
Naturally it spurs hurt in her – because after a couple months of not hearing from him, and then coupled with he’s back in town and never reached out to tell her, he’s just suddenly in front of her. And he doesn’t even really great her, instead staying in his camping chair with his beer and just saying her name, like he hadn’t been gone for all that time. Naturally, Charli’s heart flips because she’d been interested in him before he’d left. Also naturally, Mason turns somewhat caveman over Dash’s return and request, eventually, to talk to Charli about what’s happened while he’s been away.
I know that I’m not among the more popular opinion, and while I’m hoping it doesn’t happen TOO much, but I liked the tension between Dash and Mason for Charli and who she’s trying to figure out to give her heart to. Honestly, in the end, it’s both of them. I kind of like that as a whole, the love portion of Charli’s life is legitimately as messy as real life, because in real life you don’t always get to choose who you love and you can love more than one person at the same time. Which makes things super complicated with the revelations that come from Dash and the state of Mason by the end of the book. I’m not a huge one for the tug and pull of a rope contest for someone’s heart if it goes on too long, but I can completely understand thinking you’re moving on with one person only to have person two come crashing into your life and while theoretically you shouldn’t want or be interested in them all those feelings come back.
Because let’s remember, that in book two, before Dash left, he was the one making a solid effort with her and actually making headway in the relationship department while Mason had pushed her to arms length because of what happened at the cupid event coupled with his job. So it’s not like she wasn’t able to form a connection before Dash had to head home to take care of pack things and then ended up not talking to her. So it’s not surprising that even with trying to move forward with Mason, her heart remembers all the effort Dash had made before he’d disappeared. It feels real and messy, and I am hear for it.
I love the mystery aspect of this book too, because this time we aren’t revolving around a dead body that Charli has stumbled across. Lucky’s luck has been stolen, and while there’s a threat of death because his luck and his life are tied together so if it’s not returned he will die, he’s not dead yet and like Charli and her death curse in book one, there’s time to save him! I also love the magic hijinks that happens with Charli and Mason’s magic swapping for a time, as well as all of the witches in Honeysuckle coming together to work in helping save Lucky.
The ending and the whys of the mystery were also compelling, made sense, and worked really well for the plot and characters. I am honestly excited to see what new mystery will be cooked up in book 5, as well I’m very here for seeing where the Dash – Charli – Mason triangle goes. In the long run, I’m hoping that we do actually settle with her heart, because the push and pull between the two men can get old, right now I am actually very here for it. Also! the twist at the end with Charli’s blood family, I am here for exploring that in the next book too! So on to the next!