The Witch and the Vampire
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Pages: 99
Goes Well With: A plate of bread and cheese with fresh fruit on the side

The Witch and the Vampire is the second book in Tricia Schneider’s Merriweather Witches series. The story opens with Malora Merriweather carrying a mysterious letter on a somewhat dangerous journey through the snow. Malora’s carriage overturns on a hill, and she’s rescued by a handsome stranger, Sebastian, who is unerringly polite and concerned, though he refuses to meet her gaze. Sebastian reluctantly takes Malora to her intended destination before trying to persuade her to leave. But there’s more to both these characters than meets the eye—more strength, more complexity, and more vulnerability.

The tension builds as each character learns more about the other. More strangers arrive, bringing fears of Malora’s pursuer. Sebastian tries to navigate his human and darker desires while Malora seeks to understand the meaning of visions and love.

With vampires and vampire-hunters, witches and alchemists, evil uncles and overly-wise servants, this story has characters enough for many sequels (and a prequel, which I hope to read sometime). But the writing’s never crowded. The plot is a deliberate delight. The settings haunt, and love wins through all its challenges, bringing a surprising magic in its path.

I enjoyed the author’s writing: the way she waits to reveal secrets until the reader’s invested in her characters, the way she builds and releases tension, and the empathy she creates for the dark world’s wounded denizens. The halls may be full of enemies, and relationships may be threatened by untested expectations—but true sight sees beyond outward appearance, true love encompasses sacrifice, and true people, whether they be human or otherwise, don’t jump to false conclusions.

An enjoyable read, The Witch and the Vampire is just long enough for a lunch break with that plate of bread and cheese, and it’s enticing enough to make this reader want to look out for books one and three in the series.

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