Published: 9 March 2023
Author: Sarah Hawley
Published by: Gollancz
Length: 400 pages
Reading dates: 6-10 March 2023
Mariel Spark knows not to trust a demon, especially one that wants her soul, but what’s a witch to do when he won’t leave her side – and she kind of doesn’t want him to?
Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon – one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.
Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry – if he can strike a deal with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).
But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle to maintain a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions – including love – which will only spell disaster for them both.
Mariel Spark lives in the town of Glimmer Falls, a town where witches mingle with ordinary humans and creatures in harmony, She works in a garden centre and plants are her absolute passion. She comes from a dynasty of witches and has been told all her life that she will be the strongest witch in generations. Except as the book opens she has just conjured a chicken instead of an air sprite and when she tries to reverse the spell, blows the poor chicken up.
Determined to try again, she summons some flour to bake a cake and accidentally summons a soul bargaining demon. Ozroth the Ruthless believes she has summoned him to request a wish in return for her soul. Unfortunately, he cannot leave until he has her soul and he needs to prove himself after an embarrassing mishap has made him the laughing stock of the demon world. It isn’t long before he notices Mariel is funny and sexy and he feels sorry for her when her mum is dismissive of her talents for plant based magic. When they have to come up with a story about who he is, Mariel pretends Ozroth is her boyfriend. The trouble is, despite him being a demon who wants her soul, she finds him very attractive. She thinks about his penis a lot (internet research suggests demons are large in that department) and before long they can’t keep their hands of each other. But how can there be a happy ending?
A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is a fantastic read! I loved Mariel who thrives in nature and adores her flowers and I loved that she is curvy! I definitely fancied Ozroth and the sex scenes when they happen are grown up and ever so sexy! Mariel is surrounded by brilliant friends – a social media influencer pixie called Themmie and fellow kick-ass witch called Calladia who fiercely stands up for Mariel at every opportunity. Mariel’s mum is frankly awful so it is good she has amazing friends around her.
A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon gave me warm fuzzy feelings and was a joy to pick up – it is funny and very, very sexy! With a fab cast of characters, I’m thrilled to learn a second book set in Glimmer falls is coming in November 2023 – A Demon’s Guide to Wooing a Witch and I can’t wait!
With thanks to Jenna from Gollancz for inviting me on the blog tour and sending me a finished copy of the book. Please check out what other reviewers are saying below:
About the author
Sarah Hawley is an author of romance and fantasy novels. She was a winner of RevPit 2018, and her short stories and satirical articles have been published by Hooked, Slackjaw, The Belladonna Comedy, and Points in Case. She co-hosted the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast about romance fiction, which was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List” as “a compelling reminder of why the oft-dismissed genre is a real force in cultural conversations about consent and desire.”
Sarah has an MA in archaeology and has excavated at an Inca site in Chile, a Bronze Age palace in Turkey, and a medieval abbey in England. When not dreaming up whimsical love stories, she can be found reading, dancing, or cuddling her two cats.