Publication: 9th March 2023 – Gollancz
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.
Ozroth the Ruthless has been a bargainer for centuries, exchanging souls for desires, but he’s never been summoned by mistake. And with his reputation on the line, he has no intention to back down, but neither does the witch who summoned him.
Mariel Spark’s fate had been predicted at her birth, promising a legacy of great magic and power, except that, so far, the only magic she can make is with her plants. She’s been deemed a failure both by her family and by the town, especially her successful and overbearing mother, who never miss the chance to put her down. Things don’t get any better when, instead of summoning flour to bake she calls for a demon, who won’t leave until she claims her wish. Mariel can’t admit to her family that she messed up her magic once again, so she pretends that Oz is her boyfriend. And the more time they spend together, the less fake their relationship becomes.
A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon was such a fun and addictive read with lots of romance, laugh, and fantastic characters. The story is told from the perspectives of both Mariel and Oz and I loved those two characters. Mariel is sweet, optimistic, the sunshine to grumpy Oz, but she strongly feels the pressure of her family’s expectations, especially her overbearing perfect mother. She loves plants and nature and she uses her magic to protect them. Ozroth is one of the most powerful bargainers, famous for his merciless bargains, but six months earlier a bargain went a bit wrong and now he has something that no other demons owns: a soul. With his reputation on the line, he thinks that the bargain with Mariel is exactly what he needs to get things back to normal. Except that she won’t give up her soul, and after a few days of forced proximity, he is not sure he wants her to give it up either.
Romantic, hilarious, and bewitching, A Witch’ Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is the perfect read if you love fake relationships, close proximity, and witty banter with the addition of delightful magical creatures and an evocative setting.
A huge thank you to Gollancz and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of this fantastic novel.
Sarah Hawley is an author of romance and fantasy novels. She co-hosts the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast about romance fiction, which was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List.” When not dreaming up whimsical love stories, she can be found reading, dancing, or cuddling her two cats. A WITCH’S GUIDE TO FAKE-DATING A DEMON is her debut romcom.