Napier Courier

Town’s tales keep reader spellbound


Spellbound — Catherine Robertson (Random House, $36)

Reviewed by Louise Ward, Wardini Books

It’s good to be back in Gabriel’s Bay.

Spellbound is the third book to feature a miscellany of the town’s residents — some are regular features, some returnees, some “outsiders”. Pretty much like any town.

You don’t have to have read the previous novels, Gabriel’s Bay and What You Wish For, to become immediatel­y immersed in the story.

There is so much going on and Robertson has the ability to introduce you to her characters as old friends. Ash: young, handsome, gentle; Emma: young beautiful, principled; Mac: older, forthright, a fixer; Barrett: gay, anxious, finding himself.

Spellbound takes a wander into some tricky territory. There is foreign investment that could be good for the town, depending on who gets to have a say. Dr Ash is concerned that a patient is suffering domestic abuse. Are the Scrabble playing rich nudists living in naked splendour out in the . . . err . . . bush, Nazis?

On the lighter side, Sidney and Sophie are about to give birth and Devon still makes a great margarita.

The narrative weaves its way over the hill in and out Gabriel’s Bay with humour and sharp dialogue.

These are not just characters in a book, but people we know.

Spellbound is the best combinatio­n of bookish things: funny, thoughtful, heart-wrenching, worrying, clever and, most importantl­y of all, entertaini­ng.

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