who believes in herbs and the "magic" of the everyday world. Just as I'd gotten used to this book not being a fantasy, though it veered close to but never quite all the way into magical realism territory, up pops a character who is a traditional fantasy trope. However, this is never explained or even dealt with, and I felt the character was completely unnecessary to the overall plot (and, in fact, vanishes from the book fairly quickly). I understand Grant has written other books in the same milieu and with some of the same characters, so maybe this makes sense in the larger picture, but in this book, not so much. I liked most of this book, although I never got really involved in it. There are some interesting characters and situations (though some of the dialogue is really stretched), but about 3/4 of the way through, the novel takes a weird and unexpected turn. It doesn't really ring true, and feels like Grant was unsure of what to do next. The ending wraps things up way too neatly, quickly, and conveniently. In other words, I didn't believe it. Overall not bad, but not all that good.