Playing the Witch Card is a cozy and fun read for Fall 2023

Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell'Antonia. Image Courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons.
Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell'Antonia. Image Courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons. /

Sometimes, comp titles are enough to make you want to read a book. That’s why I was excited to pick up Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell’Antonia.

If you’ve looked this book up, you’ll notice that the first two comp titles for it are Gilmore Girls and Practical Magic. If you’re a cozy reader, then there’s no way those don’t appeal to you. It’s clear this book knew its audience.

While KJ Dell’Antonia has written other books, Playing the Witch Card is her first witchy story yet and it was surprisingly witchy. Sometimes, it can feel like witchy books tend to lack the actual “witchiness” but this book delivered.

I won’t give too much away though but I’d like to thank Putnam for sending me an early copy to read and review.

Playing the Witch Card is a cozy and fun new book from KJ Dell’Antonia.

Given the hype around witchy books, going into Playing the Witch Card, it was a bit nerve-wracking. Aside from the comp titles though, the concept and plot of this book is enough to hook you. Set in a small town in Kansas, Flair is starting over after the death of her grandmother, a divorce, and the start of a failing bakery.

While things seem grim at first, Flair’s return to her small town anchored her connection to her magical roots. It begins with her baking and decorating cookies like her tarot cards and seeing how her magic affects those who eat them. Then we find out that her mother is involved much more. Coupled with her mother, Flair is also dealing with her frustrating ex-husband and her teenage daughter who is full of angst.

Playing the Witch Card really splits the difference here as we’re watching as Flair tries to push back her witchy side while also using it for her business. We’re also seeing her trying to run her business and be a parent along with possibly reconnecting with a former flame. It’s a lot for anyone but Flair handles it as best as she can.

What I really enjoyed was how Dell’Antonia wrote her characters. Each of them felt so real as they were all dealing with their own struggles while also having magic. I will say that the magical “twist” wasn’t one I saw coming but I loved it. As far as witchy books go, I can see this being a favorite when October rolls out or being on a Gilmore Girls book recommendations post.

Ultimately, Playing the Witch Card was fun and witchy but I would have liked to see more of the bakery and Flair running her business. I know that wasn’t the point of the story, but I enjoyed seeing her working especially on the cookies. Like I said though, I’m sure this one is going to be one lot of people flock to this spooky season.

Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell’Antonia is out now where books are sold. 

Will you be adding Playing the Witch Card to your October TBR? Let us know in the comments!

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