Meet my new bud, Nola. You’ll get that when you read The Disappearance of Emily (Better Beginnings, 2021 ). It’s Book 2 in the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic series by Elizabeth Pantley.
Just don’t tell Kimber about Miss Fancy Feline, okay?
Not on a Map
Anyway, Destiny Falls is a magical place. You won’t find it on a map. You can’t get there on your own. You have to be called by either the town or the “cozy, mansion-sized mountain cabin” family home of Caldwell Crest. And oh yeah. Once you’re “called” to Destiny Falls, you’re kinda stuck. You can’t choose to leave, as young Hayden, formerly of Seattle, finds out in this delightful sequel to Falling Into Magic. (See my full review here.)
Young Hayden is minding her own biz, enjoying a nice hot cuppa with her bro Axel when she’s suddenly accosted by a ferry boat captain, Nakita. The captain delivers a vague, mysterious message about meeting the day after tomorrow. Nakita says it’s a matter “of life and death.” She insists Hayden come alone and “tell no one.”
Well. What the Hay?
Cuz next thing ya know, Nakita winds up dead.
Oh, by the way. Whatever you do, don’t mention “Gladstone.” So not cool. And don’t inquire too boldly about ferries that don’t have regular schedules and adjust their routes based on passengers. Got that, Buttercup?
Meanwhile, Hayden wonders if dashing and debonair Sheriff Jaxson Redford (any relation to Robert?) is going to be her future husband. Or maybe the suave and urbane Han Chow is her next main squeeze? This, in between taking fashion advice from Her Royal Majesty, Princess Latifa the Talking Himalayan Cat, swanky family dinners, resurrecting the local newspaper, and rescuing an abandoned black kitten.
It’s a full day in Destiny Falls.
There’s also a forbidden island. Magical lakes and the fountain of youth. A “Jeannie-ized witch.” But beware. Rare and powerful magic is not to be trifled with. Neither are pieces of the heart.
By the way, what’s wrong with reading the last page of a book before starting it, Toots? Askin’ for a friend.
And if you think a Saarloos wolfdog named Hercules is cool, Cupcake, wait’ll you get a load of Poppy’s Camping & Hiking Extravaganza. Or the Destiny Falls Library. Yowza!
Brisk & Breezy
Witty and whimsical, this is a brisk, breezy read with spirited characters and spunky dialogue. The story is lithe and supple. Paragraphs and chapters flow smoothly into each other as mystery and romance abound while Hayden tries to discover what happened to her mother, Emily. And why.
Not sayin’ you’ll necessarily meet Aslan or Alice here. But you might want to keep an eye on your mirror, Princess.
As for the ending, well… WHOA!? Can’t wait for the next installment!
Our rating: 4.5
“Don’t tell Kimber what?!” says You Know Who. “I have brothers too, ya know! Four of ‘em! So there! And when’s my red satin pillow coming? Wait. Belay that. I’ll settle for a nice, thick New York steak. Medium rare. Got that, Mom?”
Where was I again?