First in newcomer Pierce's series chronicling Manhattan witch wars, as waged on and off the society pages.
Jane, a budding architect from Alsace, has just landed her first account in Paris. When she's saved from hobbling on a broken stiletto heel by a handsome man and his limo, it's a most inopportune time for love at first sight. But the chemistry between Malcolm Doran, a rich Manhattanite, and herself is instantaneous and, need we say, magical. Sporting thederigueurmulti-carat engagement rock (or is it a millstone?) around her finger, Jane takes Malcolm to meet her grandmother, Celine, who raised her after her American parents died. They arrive to find Celine dead in her secluded farmhouse. There is a legacy: a letter explaining Jane's witchy pedigree and a silver ring of power. Wearing the ring, Jane now has the ability to read minds, but not Malcolm's. It's off to Manhattan where, before leaving on the first of innumerable business trips, Malcolm ensconces Jane at the family mansion for the duration of her imprisonment, er, engagement. This Park Avenue address (665, actually) houses some sinister female relatives (there's even a genealogy chart, tracing female bloodlines, etched on the parlor wall), but the worst is harpy-in-chief Lynne, Malcolm's mother. Left to Lynne's mercy, Jane endures weeks of wedding planning, no-carb meals and unflattering gown suggestions. Bored silly, Jane bucks Lynne to take a job at MOMA as an events planner. A slow learner despite her magical aptitudes (she generates electrical disturbances when upset), it takes an attempt on a friend's life before Jane recognizes that her potential in-laws are not merely eccentric but dangerous. Jane is only the latest pawn in witch clan warfare going back centuries (a poor argument for matriarchy, that). With the help of some well-meaning but nonmagical Wiccans, Jane learns to harness her powers, but can she make the leap from pawn to warrior queen?
A fast-paced and at times diverting mash-up of chick lit and fantasy.