By Laura Perry
Having ready and enjoyed Laura Perry’s non-fiction work, I was excited by the thought of a novel by the same accomplished writer. However, I had no idea what to expect. What took me by surprise were delightfully real characters, a magical story full of occult surrealism and a page turner that I literally couldn’t put down. I’ll try to avoid spoilers as I review this great piece of ‘witch lit’, as I really want you all to go and read it for yourselves!
The first thing that struck me was how relatable Laura’s characters are. The dysfunctional family. The best friend who isn’t always in tune with what you need. But who ultimately comes through. The overbearing paramour. Or hopeful paramour, anyway! The flawed parents, and ethically dubious lecturers. No one is perfect in this drama, not even the protagonist, and I love that. ‘Warts and all’ is the best way to portray humans, and I find I have much more empathy with a character who makes mistakes and battles demons of self-doubt as well as other realms, than one who sails through life as a paragon of justice.
Unsurprisingly for a seasoned academic of Minoan mysteries and other occult studies, Laura weaves a great deal of occult references throughout The Bed. There are references to Crowley, ceremonial magic, angels (but not the type you’d find on top of a festive tree) and grimoires galore. The protagonist ends up with more than she bargained for when she purchases some antique furniture, and the book follows her unwitting introduction to the world of magic and the beings that it attracts, plus her mission to free a cursed soul.
I adore the fact that the temptation of higher power through magical ritual is dealt with, and the inherent dangers. Too often we see magic either demonised or romanticised. This novel is much more realistic; yes, magic is real and can help you and others, but it is dangerous! Heed the warnings or get hurt. Fantastic stuff.
I’ve heard ‘Witch Lit’ described as ‘Chick lit but with magic’, and to be honest, I think that’s a bit of a disservice. Romance is one factor in the story, but one thread among many, weaning a delicate but bright embroidery where every stitch is vital. The romance in this book veers from possibly the most high handed, arrogant wannabe to what I can only describe as (without spoilers) pretty much the exact opposite. Talk about low maintenance… that’s all I’m saying!
In summary, a fine work of fiction and sure to appeal to any who love a good mystery story, a dash of romance and a healthy dose of magic. Even though the story wraps up neatly, I’d love to read more about Liz (love her real name!) and her friends and family, as the way they interacted and dealt with the obstacles thrown up was totally compelling. Five stars, recommended.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.
She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.