Midlife Curses by Christine Zane Thomas

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I picked this one up because I asked Twitter for audible recommendations which included self-promotion, and this one popped up. I’ve read book by this author before and enjoyed it. From the title it sounded like another light hearted comedy book so I went ahead and picked it up.

This book plays on a lot of long standing tropes and lore, with the main character not knowing that she was special, or that magic even exists. It starts out with her going through a rough patch when she found her husband cheating and somehow she stops time in the breakroom at the office under extreme emotional duress. She doesn’t know what’s going on, just that she wants a divorce and wants it right now. She leaves everything to her husband so she can make a divorce official the following day, hops in her car and just drives. She ends up at her grandmothers house all the way across the country in rural Virginia where she figures she can shack up and figure her life out.

What she didn’t know is that time-stop was just the beginning of her strange journey discovering she’s a witch. Witches don’t come into their powers in their teenage years like most of the pop culture movies would have you believe – no – their coming of age is at forty years old when they’re good and ready to use magic responsibly. This all came pouring out of her grandmother’s mouth about a week before her fortieth birthday and she doesn’t believe it at first. But, after multiple people in this small town profess to know about warlocks, vampires, witches and werewolves she’s forced to concede that magic is real. The fact her grandmother has a talking magic familiar (cat) helped a lot with the speediness to which she accepted her strange new knowledge.

Once she knows about the paranormal activity and species that reside in this random small town, even weirder shit starts to happen. A vampire turns up dead, she learns about some strange Faction her mother belonged to (who has been missing for years presumed dead) and she has to try and figure out what’s going on.

The pacing for this is quick, it jumps right into the plot and keeps truckin’ til the end. It’s a short book that didn’t leave time for meandering around with no point. The prose was also straight forward which sped the story along. If anything, it was a little too quick? I didn’t get to know the main character as much as I’d like despite the fact it was a single POV book. How did she and her husband get together, what was the company even about, why did she look for a cashiers job after starting and running her own company?

There were a lot of surface level neat ideas I would have liked more expansion, but perhaps it will come in later books – like where does her familiar go when he galivants around with other familiars? Are paranormal species really this prevalent everywhere or is it just this particular town that draws them? Even if they aren’t that common, surely with modern tech everywhere someone would have caught a bloke transforming into a werewolf or a raven by now? Anywho, this book isn’t really meant for all that. It’s supposed to be a fun light story and it gives a feel that more will be answered in later installments. The world building itself was loose and based mostly on modern society with a bunch of pop references – Harry Potter featured heavily since the main character is a big fan.


  • Plot: 10/15
  • Characters: 10/15
  • World Building: 10/15
  • Writing: 11/15
  • Pacing: 12/15
  • Originality: 10/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 6/10

Final Score: 69/100 or 3.5/5 stars on GR