Strange Magic opens in a Catholic hospital where a boy, Max, lies in a bed deep in a coma. His mother is at his side fast asleep. It is a stormy night and Nurse Ann Redmond is more than ready to go home. However, her boss Sister Marilyn wants her to check on Max one last time.
At first glance all is right in the boy’s room but when he suddenly wakes it soon becomes clear another soul has taken possession of Max. A child who wants nothing more than to be with his mother.
His mother is Ursula Cadence, a 16th century woman hung for supposedly being a witch. And Max’s parents turn to a local professor Dr. Chin to request Sam and Ruth’s help to find Ursula’s bones so that she and her son can be reunited in death.
Much of Strange Magic is told from Ruth’s perspective as she and Sam work together to figure out from Ursula’s history what became of her remains after her death.
The book is light and has tongue in cheek humor. It is also light on horror and Ruth as well as Sam are endearing. The reader also gets a lesson in 16th century Essex and the fear of witches the residents had.
Where the book falters a bit is with the other party who also wants to get Ursula’s bones. This party is not as fleshed out and I did not get to know much about them except they hope to use Ursula’s power to obtain eternal life. However, despite this Ruth and Sam were enough to keep me in the story. I do plan to read the second book in the series to see what improves.