Happy Publication Day to Sharon Booth with To Catch a Wish, the third in The Witches of St Clair series.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?
Or is this the end of the world as they know it?
The fictional setting of Castle Clair was inspired by the picturesque North Yorkshire town of Knaresborough. A place that actually possesses a castle and it’s own legendary witch in Mother Shipton.
Mother Shipton was actually born Ursula Southeil (variant spellings exist) around 1488 and she died in 1561. She was reputed to have been born in a cave within historic woodland along the River Nidd. The cave, which now bears her name, is adjacent to the famous Petrifying Well whose waters turn objects to stone.
She was renowned as a soothsayer, although the first publication of her alleged ‘prophesies’ did not appear until 1641 – 80 years after her reported death. A later edition published in 1684 gave rise to the story that she was born in the cave. The premise being that her 15 year old, unmarried mother had found refuge there having been banished from the town. It also claims she married a local carpenter, Toby Shipton in 1512. Reputed to be hideously ugly (as all good witches needed to be!) – she was said to have told fortunes and made predictions throughout her life.
In the Witches of Castle Clair series the legend of Mother Shipton has been replaced with one of the St Clair Brothers.
There are other inspirations from Knaresborough too, the Oldest Chemist Shoppe in the town (reputedly the oldest in England) became the basis for The Broom Closet, the family magical supplies shop.
The building below that stands in the grounds of Knaresborough Castle was the inspiration for the Castle Clair Museum of Magic.
Meanwhile the Witches Leap shrine is inspired by the early 15th century Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, located in an old quarry on Abbey Road. This is a Marian shrine on the old pilgrim’s route to the now demolished Knaresborough Abbey.
To Catch a Witch concludes a story that first began in Belle, Book and Christmas Candle and continued in My Favourite Witch. So why not take a visit to St Clair, especially now you can imagine the settings.
Do you believe in magic?
Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged.
Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season.
When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think.
Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters.
But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic
The world is full of magic, if you know where to look.
It hasn’t been an easy time for Star St Clair. Her father has heaped disgrace on the family, and the man she loves rejected her when he discovered the truth about her powers. But the St Clair family’s magical heritage goes back centuries, and no one could be prouder of that than Star. Neither her father, nor Benedict Greenwood, will be forgiven.
Fate, however, has a shock in store for her. Not only is her errant father back in town, along with his new fiancée, but her ex has arrived home with a new girlfriend in tow. Maths teacher Elsie is everything Benedict seems to want – bright, steady, normal. How can Star possibly compete with her? Not that she intends to, of course. She is a St Clair, after all, and Benedict won’t get a second chance.
Benedict is an anxious man. Bad enough to discover your girlfriend is, in fact, a witch, but running out on her was probably a big mistake. Who knows what she’s plotting in revenge? Taking Elsie home to meet his grandmother is a test of nerve, and Star’s behaviour doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind. Just what is she up to?
Star couldn’t be sweeter to Elsie, and even presents her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her to Castle Clair, but Benedict isn’t fooled. Star is plotting something, and when Elsie suffers from a mysterious ailment, he is convinced that it’s all down to his ex-girlfriend. After all, everyone knows witches can’t be trusted.
But events are about to unfold that will challenge both Star and Benedict, and everything they believe to be true. In an attic room in North Yorkshire and a village hall in Ireland, unpalatable truths must be told, secrets must unfold, and life-changing decisions must be made.
Is forgiveness truly impossible? Are witches really that scary? And can a solution be reached before time, patience, and all the bourbon biscuits run out?
A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic …
To learn more about Sharon you can catch up with her Five on Friday here