The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Rating 9.0/10
It is the mystery of who and what the family is that makes this book compulsive and enjoyable.

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The Gale family can change the world with the charms they cast, and they like to keep this in the family. Alysha Gale is tired of having all her aunts try to run her life, both personally and magically. So when the letter from her Gran arrives willing her a "junk" shop in Calgary, Alysha jumps at the chance. It isn't until she gets there that she realizes her customers are fey. And no one told her there's trouble brewing in Calgary - trouble so big that even calling in the family may not save the day.

I have read quite a few of Tanya Huff’s novels now and although each story/series I have read has been very different in nature from the other there are a few themes that run throughout them all. These themes include family; the family you are born into and the family you create around yourself, and strong female characters, who are backed up by strong male characters without having to pander to stereotypes of male and female relationships.

The Enchantment Emporium is set in Canada and for the most part in the city of Calgary. The main character is Alysha Gale, who when we meet her is floundering in her life, back in the bosom of her family, wondering when her life will get back on track after losing her job as a researcher. Her family, the Gales, are quite clannish and very magical in nature, with the Aunties in charge. The Gales seem almost like “The Family” in a mafia sense as they are quite insular and do not take kindly to people knowing more than they know.

When Alysha moves to Calgary she feels detached from her family and is given the chance to stand on her own two feet, as she deals with the various situations that crop up when having to run a shop that needs to be catalogued. Alysha soon starts finding her own circle which includes two of her cousins: Charlie, who has an extraordinary power even for a family who have so much of it and he is able to walk the paths of The Woods (magical paths between places) and Roland, who is a lawyer. She also adopts a changeling named Joe, who happens to be a leprechaun.

The Enchantment Emporium can be confusing at the start (but whose family isn’t?) as you try to get to grips with the numerous layers of aunties, cousins, brothers, sisters and various other family members. But once you get past the first couple of pages it gets easier to understand as the story gets going. It is the mystery of who and what the family is that makes this book such a compulsive and enjoyable read. There are family secrets that need to be shared, loves lost and found and a whole lot of dragons. This is urban fantasy at the top of its game with a strong central focus and engaging characters who really come to life. Once I had finished the book, all I wanted to know was what happens next!

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