Payback’s A Witch is the fun, witchy, revenge-filled romance we all need

Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper. Image courtesy Penguin Random House
Payback's a Witch by Lana Harper. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

Lana Harper’s Payback’s A Witch is much more than a fun title. It tells the story of Emmy Harlow, a 20-something woman coming home to Thistle Grove. She fled to Chicago five years ago to make a life for herself away from the guy that broke her heart and the town’s expectations of her.

But this isn’t just a coming home story. It’s so much more. Thistle Grove is not just an ordinary town. It is filled with magic and witches. Emmy is a witch but lost most of her magic when she left Thistle Grove. Now that she’s back, she can feel the magic coursing back into her veins.

The big question is why is she coming back now? Well, every year, the four witch families of Thistle Grove have a competition. The Gauntlet. It’s three rounds. Best two out three takes it all. Emmy is there to be the Arbiter. But after that, she’s gone. Back to Chicago (or so she thinks).

Let’s talk about the four families! There are the Harlows (Emmy’s family) who are the scribes. They are the referees of the competition. They don’t compete.

Payback’s A Witch features romance, revenge, and so much more

There are the Thorns who are really great with growing and plant magic. Emmy’s best friend Linden is a Thorn as is Linden’s brother, Rowan who is competing this year.

There are also the Avramovs who are all about the death and paranormal magic. And for some reason unknown to Emmy, the gorgeous and mysterious Talia Avramov is interested in her. Emmy is not about to say no to that arrangement! Talia is also competing in The Gauntlet.

There are also the dreaded Blackmoores. Gareth Blackmoore is the guy who broke Emmy’s heart so long ago.  And as it turns out, he also broke Linden and Talia’s hearts as well.

The Blackmoores also happen to win The Gauntlet almost every year. Which means that have the strongest magic and have used it (knowingly or not) to effect the other families’ business in Thistle Grove.

Emmy, Linden, Rowan, and Talia plan to change that. How? They are going to do everything in their power to ensure Gareth does not win a single round AKA REVENGE!

Instead of fighting only for themselves, Talia and Rowan are going to work together to ensure Gareth can’t win. Emmy as the Arbitor can’t do much but she bends the rules any way she can.

As the competition begins, things go as planned.

What doesn’t go as planned is Emmy feeling happy and connected to the place she was supposed to leave behind forever. And her relationship with Talia is not helping matters. She can see Talia being her forever person, but if Emmy’s not supposed to stay, how is that going to work?

Things just get more complicated as the competition goes on and as she and Talia become closer.

Payback’s A Witch is part romance, part magic competition, and part coming-of-age story despite Emmy being in her twenties. I swooned over Emmy’s relationship with Talia, I flipped pages at record speed when The Gauntlet was going down, and I related much too heavily to Emmy questioning where she really belongs.

I also LOVED all the fun tidbits throughout the book. Talia’s mom has animated flowers in her garden and loves to decorate for Halloween. Emmy works for a subscription box company called Enchantify. The Thorns’ use their magic to run an orchard. And every shop has a witchy pun name!

Payback’s A Witch on the surface may seem like a book about girls getting revenge (and omg it is! sweet, sweet revenge!), but it’s also about so much more than that. It’s about love, family, friendship, and not letting past trauma and hurt drive you away from where you belong.

Next. Red, White & Royal Blue coming to the big screen. dark

Payback’s A Witch by Lana Harper is available now in ebook, paperback, and audiobook formats.