The Cabot Girls of Coventry Island by Geonn CannonThe Cabot Girls of Coventry Island by Geonn Cannon is a supernatural drama.

I feel like I should preface this review with a correction. I’ve mispronounced Geonn Cannon’s name via podcast in the past so here is the correct way: Geonn (like Jon) Cannon (like the thing you shoot) Okay, whew. Glad I got that out.

Our tale starts on the Coventry Island, with a family that has been there from the very beginning. The Cabot women have always protected Coventry Island and the people, and always would because the Cabots were a family of witches tasked with that specific purpose. The current generation of protectors is comprised of three sisters. Winnie is the eldest and runs a bake shop that sells blessed baked goods to improve the mood and lives of the island’s inhabitants. Her younger twin sisters, Reese and May, run a second-hand shop that does similar.

The siblings were nearly fractured when the twins were in their teens thanks to secrets kept and the manipulations of a woman named Jessica Vaughn. But once Jessica was banished from the island, things returned to normal and the turmoil was buried. Unfortunately for the Cabot sisters, they are still secrets between then and when Jessica returns to the island nearly two decades later she brings the wedge of knowledge that will leave Winne, Reese, and May scattered into the wind. All three must play their part to uncover the truth and re-solidify their bond, so that the island remains protected and prosperous.

The Characters

The three main characters are the sisters, Arwyn (Winnie), Cerys (Reese), and Maeve (May). Cannon could have easily blurred the lines with so many main characters, especially given that they were sisters, but that wasn’t the case at all. First we see Winnie, the stoic older sister who is single and asexual. I love her dedication to family and to the island. But she’s not perfect and throughout the course of the story we are introduced to her flaws. The same happens with bisexual Reese whose own flaws cause the biggest rift in the three. Reese’s fraternal twin May is caught between the two and forced to find out right from wrong on her own. I think of the three sisters I empathized most with Winnie because she felt like me, but I really liked May’s dedication to ‘self.’

Their mother and grandmothers play a part, as did the main antagonist, Jessica, but the stars of the show were the three Cabot sisters for sure. One of the things I particularly liked about the characters was the growth we see as events begin to unfold and resolve. Even Jessica changes and grows the farther in we go, and I saw her as redeemed somewhat at the end.

The Writing Style

I’ve always enjoyed Cannon’s writing style. It’s easy to follow, well written, and natural. I will say that I felt the pacing slowed a bit around the one third mark and sped up again toward the end. Any moment lost in the beginning of the book was well made up for by the time I put it down.

The Pros

I liked that despite the problems that arose between the three sisters, and how angry you knew they were, it was obvious how much they loved each other. I think Cannon did an excellent job outlining the very specific pain that comes from loving someone and having them let you down. I also enjoyed the unique magic dynamic that we see employed by all three, and their particular rules and uses for the magic.

The Cons

There is a side character in the book that cheats on her husband, some may not like reading about this. There is also a bit of a slow-down of the story-line before the middle of the book. But then things really get humming again and we learn bits of information that were not at all expected. Another noteworthy tidbit, if you’re looking for some heavy magic dueling in this novel you’ll be disappointed. That’s not what it’s about, it’s about the growth of people and a community as a whole. It’s also about healing and acceptance.

The Conclusion

Geonn Cannon has a way with words and a knack for writing multiple genres. I wasn’t sure what to expect with The Cabot Girls of Coventry Island but found myself pleasantly surprised at the end. If you like stories with a little magic, a little intrigue, and a twist, you’ll find all those things with this book. You don’t see many tales or authors that tackle such a diverse range of characters, nor are books with non-wiccan witches that common. I’d consider them on the elemental side of things. They had their rituals but the story wasn’t heavy with it. Instead of being about magic, the book was about people trying to heal and move forward in the best way possible. Perhaps I’d call it supernatural “light” because of the focus on people instead of magic. But however you classify it, the book was a fun read.

Excerpt from The Cabot Girls of Coventry Island by Geonn Cannon

Fourteen years ago

The small town on Coventry Island didn’t have a name; it didn’t need one. Locals called it ‘the town’ or ‘home,’ and referring to the island itself was a specific as they had to get. The streets bloomed out from the ferry dock like tree branches. Restaurants and shops to the right, along the south shore. Straight ahead was the heart of the town, the library and church and grocery store. Take a left from the docs and you would see the little town cemetery.

It was a sunny day, with a few clouds on the Canadian side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca but otherwise clear. School had let out a few hours ago and a swarm of kids were riding bikes down a side street on their way to play in the woods. The ferry had just arrived. It was a small boat, not one of the state’s stylish fleet, and it waited patiently for the tourists currently on the island to make their way down the hill and climb aboard for the return trip to the mainland.

The first sign of trouble came in the form of a tall blonde girl striding down the main road at a fast clip. She wasn’t quite running but she was obviously in a hurry. She trotted in such a way that people who saw her pass by their storefronts came out to see whether she was running to something or away from it. Ordinarily the three teenage girls pursuing her at a meandering pace wouldn’t be cause for alarm, but everyone recognized this trio.

They were the Cabot girls.

As the four girls continued down the street, the sky became dark. Barty, the owner and captain of the boat, came off the bridge to look up at the suddenly ominous clouds building overhead. The blonde reached the dock and stopped running. Arwyn Cabot, the eldest, stopped. The twins followed her lead. Maeve looked sheepish. Cerys looked angry. The blonde was defiant but scared. The wind swept down the street like a broom, lifting the cloth of awnings and making grown men stumble a bit in surprise as they were shoved by unseen hands. The blonde girl on the dock was kicked back a few steps and put up a hand to protect her face.

“You can either leave on the boat or see how far you can swim,” Arwyn said.

The blonde smiled incredulously. “You can’t do this. You can’t just kick me off the island!”

Cerys and Maeve lifted their hands in concert and the street was suddenly awash by a wall of rain. Barty ducked back into the safety of his ship and scrambled to put on his slicker. Waves kicked up and flooded the dock. Arwyn moved closer.

“You hurt my sisters. You did it deliberately and took great joy in what you were doing. Coventry Island doesn’t need people like you.”

Another wave crashed. This one was big enough to flood the lowest portion of the street. All three Cabot girls were soaked now, their faces shadowed by their hair, and even those witnesses who knew them well were suddenly frightened by what was happening. The sky growled… not thunder, but an actual rumbling groan which stretched from the far horizon until it was centered over the town.

The blonde turned and ran along the dock, covering her head in a futile attempt to protect herself from the rain. She clambered aboard and disappeared into the passenger section.

Once she was out of sight, the Cabots dropped their hands. The rain stopped, although evidence of the deluge still cascaded down the street. The Cabot girls remained where they were until the ferry was fully loaded. The woman who owned the bakery said she never even saw them blink. They certainly didn’t shiver, even though their clothes were soaked through. Finally the ship pulled away from the dock and the girls relaxed.

When the ferry was gone, Arwyn Cabot turned and walked between her sisters. Cerys and Maeve turned and followed her. The three dripping Cabot girls, the latest generation of a family who had been on Coventry Island since its founding, marched single-file up the street through the center of town. The clouds dissipated as if they had never been there, though the cool breeze and scent of ozone still lingered. The renewed sun shone off puddles that had no right to exist.

In the days that followed, no one mentioned the scene. Soon enough it was all but forgotten. The people of Coventry Island were accustomed to weirdness when the Cabot family was involved, but drawing attention to it was just asking for trouble. So no one spoke of it. No one wrote about it in the newspaper and gossips kept mum about the flash storm and the young woman who was forced off the island. It was just easier that way.

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Bits and Bobs

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